Nov. 9, 2012
EASTON, Pa. -
After dropping the opening set, the Army volleyball team rebounded to defeat Lafayette, 3-1, on the road Friday night at Kirby Sports Center. Senior co-captain Ariana Mankus reached the 20-kill plateau for the second time in three matches as the Black Knights improved to 19-8 on the season and 10-3 in Patriot League play.
Army entered the match having already clinched a spot in the Patriot League Tournament. The Black Knights opened the match with a 25-22 loss, but bounced back to win the ensuing three sets 25-16, 25-19, 25-22.
Along with Mankus, co-captain Francine Vasquez (12 kills) and junior outside hitter Margaux Jarka (11) also reached double-digit kills. Mankus, Jarka and sophomore setter Mary Vaccaro each recorded a double-double on the night. Junior libero D.J. Phee racked-up a career-high 30 digs in a standout defensive effort. She helped to hold the Leopards to a .112 hitting percentage as a team.
After hitting just .018 in the first-set loss, the Black Knights came out with a vengeance in a 25-19 win and hit for a match-best .405 percentage. Mankus and sophomore middle blocker Molly McDonald recorded five kills apiece as Army tied the match, 1-1. Neither team led by more than three points in the first set, but Lafayette managed to hold a lead much of the way. In the second set, the Black Knights opened up a 10-3 lead on a kill from rookie Vanessa Edwards to Vaccaro, who finished with seven kills, and never looked back. Army led by as many as 10 points down the stretch before a McDonald kill provided the final 25-16 winning margin.
The Black Knights pushed their lead to 2-1 on the match after authoring a 25-19 win in the third set. Although Army controlled much of the frame, Lafayette pulled within 19-17 late in the action. The Black Knights owned the next three points thanks to a Mankus kill, along with a Jarka kill and service ace, to extend their lead to 22-17. Mankus provided the final point of the set as Army collected a 25-19 victory.
Although Army led the majority of the fourth set, Lafayette did not go away quietly. A Mankus kill gave the Black Knights a 15-10 lead midway through the action. The Leopards responded with a 9-4 run to level the score at 19-all. Army went on to out-score Lafayette 6-3 down the stretch to secure the 3-1 win.
Kaitlyn Zoller and Karissa Caliento paced Lafayette with 13 and 12 kills, respectively.
Army return to the court for the regular-season finale on Saturday at Lehigh. First serve is set for 4 p.m.
Match Notes: Army has won its last 30 matches in a row against Lafayette ... the Black Knights swept the Leopards during the regular season and have a chance to sweep Lehigh on Saturday.