Nov. 9, 2013
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Freshman middle blocker Olivia Fairfield led all players with 18 kills in Army’s 3-2 loss to Loyola (7-19, 4-10 Patriot League) on Saturday night. The two hour match featured five sets in which the Black Knights (12-12, 9-5) fell in the first two, 25-20 and 25-19, before rallying for two sets (25-14 and 25-13), forcing a fifth and final set. The Greyhounds came out to take the first four points until Army came back to tie it 8-8. Loyola took over from there en route to a 15-12 win in the Black Knights' final home match.
On offense, Fairfield accounted for 18 kills while senior middle blocker Megan Wilton came up with 11, followed by senior co-captain outside hitter Margaux Jarka and senior right side hitter Kerry Horan with10 kills each. Sophomore setter Vanessa Edwards came through with an average hitting percentage of .500 in addition to 51 assists.
Senior co-captain D.J. Phee totaled 30 digs on defense, while Jarka and junior defensive specialist Deanna Dalton added 15 and 13 digs, respectively. The Black Knights held the Greyhounds to a .115 hitting percentage and allowed only six service aces in five sets.
“We had some injuries which ultimately led to last minute changes to the lineup, but there is no excuse,” said Army head coach Alma Kovaci. “It doesn’t look like we want it bad enough. We let the first two sets get ahead of us and we had multiple serving, passing and hitting errors. It’s going to be a decision that we make as a team, despite our challenges and injuries. It’s going to come down to if we end up fighting to play or we are just playing to play.”
The first set opened with an early 4-1 Greyhound lead, as an attack error and three kills put the Black Knights behind. After forcing Army into an early timeout, Loyola pulled ahead to take an 18-12 lead, stretching its lead to six points. The Black Knights, unable to find any momentum, trailed behind until the final points ended in a 25-20 Loyola victory.
The second set, which featured 12 tie scores, opened with both teams going point-for-point and an even 9-9 score. Kills from Jarka and Wilton answered kills from Loyola’s Simone Reid and Nicole Sarby, keeping the game tied, 15-15. After taking a four point rally, the Greyhounds pulled ahead by three and were able to maintain its lead for the remainder of the set. A kill from Loyola’s Faye Kukas closed the set 25-19 in the Greyhounds favor.
After trailing 2-0, the Black Knights found their rhythm as they rallied for five points, jumping ahead 7-2 early in the third set. After forcing Loyola into a timeout, Army continued to collect points as kills from Fairfield and Jarka kept the Black Knights on top, 15-9. Allowing only five additional points, Army went on to collect a 15-14 win to close the third set.
The Black Knights began the fourth set with another rally, this time for seven points, once again forcing Loyola into an early timeout with the score 7-1. Kills from Horan and a service ace from Phee allowed for Army to maintain its lead as it crept ahead 17-9. While Loyola attempted to chip away at its eight point deficit, the Black Knights closed the fourth set with a 25-13 victory.
The fifth and final set opened with a four-point rally from Loyola, before Army was forced to take an early timeout. After regrouping, the Black Knights bounced back from behind and tie the set, 8-8. Kills from Loyola’s Lukas and Reid put the Greyhounds on top and secured their 15-12 win in the final set.
Loyola’s Jac Bullock and Mindy Maloney accounted for eight kills each while Lukas finished with six in the win over Army.
The Black Knights will take to the road for their final two regular season matches next weekend as they go up against Navy and Lafayette. Army will travel to Annapolis, Md., on Friday, Nov. 15, to play academy rival, Navy, and Easton, Pa. on Saturday, Nov. 16, to take on Lafayette. GameTracker will be available for both matches which can be found on the volleyball schedule page on goARMYsports.com.