Nov. 16, 2013
EASTON, Pa. – The Army volleyball team clinched the third seed in the Patriot League Tournament with a win over Lafayette (11-16, 3-13 PL), on Saturday, Nov. 16. The Black Knights (14-12, 11-5) took the lead with wins in the first two sets, 25-21 and 25-10, before falling to the Leopards, 27-25, in the third following a 30 minute delay from shattered glass. The Black Knights went on to capture a 25-17 win in the fourth and final set, securing its position and match to Colgate in the conference tournament next weekend.
Senior middle blocker Megan Wilton and counterpart freshman Olivia Fairfield led all players in Saturday night’s win with 13 kills apiece. Senior co-captain outside hitter Margaux Jarka went double-double with 11 kills and 10 digs, in addition to three service aces.
Junior defensive specialist Kristen Smeland and senior co-captain libero D.J. Phee totaled 22 and 16 digs, respectively. Sophomore setter Vanessa Edwards contributed 47 assists and added 13 digs.
“I'm very proud of the team tonight,” said Army head coach Alma Kovaci. “There was a 30 minute delay due to shattered glass after the second set, which slowed us down, and led to a third-set loss. Lafayette played hard, but we were able to come out with the win. We are looking forward to competing in another Patriot League Tournament and are ready to take on Colgate.”
Lafayette took the first two points of the opening set before Army would barrel ahead to take a 5-2 lead with kills from Jarka and Fairfield. Able to pick up their momentum, the Leopards closed the gap down two one before teams then rallied for six points keeping the score tied, 13-13. As the set progressed, the Black Knights would then rally for three as a block from Fairfield and senior right side hitter Kerry Horan pulled Army ahead, 16-14. After forcing the Leopards into a timeout, Army would stay on top and take the final points of the set, capturing a 25-21 victory.
The second set opened with the Black Knights taking a 5-1 lead with kills from Horan and Fairfield, paired with a service ace from Jarka. As Army continued to climb ahead, Lafayette fell into an early timeout hoping to slow down the Black Knights momentum, but was unsuccessful as Army took a nine point lead, stretching the score to 14-4. After allowing the Leopards to score only six additional points, the Black Knights finished the second set with a 25-10 win.
The teams went point-for-point to start the third set as the game stayed close with a 5-5 tie score, before the Black Knights pulled ahead by three with two kills from Wilton. After rallying for six with two blocks and multiple attack errors, the Leopards came back from behind to tie the score, 12-12, mid-set. Pulling from behind, Lafayette tied it up at the 23 point as teams went kill-for-kill. After being forced into a timeout, the Black Knights tied the score with a kill from sophomore right side hitter Nicole Perri then took the lead with a service ace from Smeland. Following a timeout of its own, Lafayette captured the final two points and a 27-25 third set victory.
Army took an early 6-3 lead to open the fourth set with kills from Horan and Perri, before the Leopards rallied for three to tie the set, 8-8. After forcing Lafayette into a timeout, the Black Knights were able to maintain its momentum with four kills from Wilton and two forced attack errors. While the Leopards attempted to chip away at its deficit, Army went on to collect the final points of the set and close the match with a 25-17 win over Lafayette.
Army is set to compete as the third seed against second seed, Colgate, in the Patriot League Tournament, which begins Saturday Nov. 23 at host, American. Teams competing in the two-day tournament include Colgate, American and Lehigh. Fans are encouraged to follow each match from the Patriot League Network as well as GameTracker, both can be found on the Army volleyball schedule page. Stats and a full game recap will become available on goARMYsports.com following the match.