June 18, 2013
2013 Army Volleyball Schedule
WEST POINT, N.Y. - Three non-conference tournaments and an expanded Patriot League slate highlight the 2013 Army volleyball schedule for seventh-year head coach Alma Kovaci and her Black Knights. Eleven home matches, including a season-opening tournament, underscore a challenging upcoming schedule during which Army hopes to capture its first Patriot League title since 2009.
Along with kicking off the program's 35th season with the annual Black Knights Invitational, the team will partake in the Valparaiso Tournament and the second Service Academy Challenge at the Pentagon. Throughout the non-league schedule, Army will face teams out of the Pac-12, SEC, Big EAST, MAAC, Horizon League, MAC, Ivy League, Atlantic 10 and Mountain West conferences.
This fall marks the first season of an expanded Patriot League, which will include home and away matches against new member Loyola (Md.).
"This year's schedule will be challenging and rigorous for our team," Kovaci said. "I know they are up to the test and will give us a chance to improve leading up to the conference portion of the schedule. Along with winning the Patriot League Tournament, our goal each year is to play with a warrior spirit and show what Army is all about. If we do that, we will be successful."
The Black Knights usher in new series with Alabama and Washington State right off the bat, as they join Seton Hall to make up the four-team Black Knights Invitational. Set to take place Labor Day weekend, Aug. 30-Sept. 1, the tournament features single matches on Friday and Sunday, along with four Saturday showdowns. The Black Knights will play twice Saturday - 10 a.m. vs. Seton Hall and 7 p.m. vs. Alabama - and close out the tournament Sunday at 1 p.m. against Washington State.
After weaving in a non-conference tilt against Hudson Valley rival Marist on Sept. 4, Kovaci's club heads to Valparaiso Sept. 6-7 for trio of matches against the host Crusaders, Eastern Michigan and Rhode Island.
Tournament play wraps up the following weekend as Army and Air Force co-host the Service Academy Challenge for the second consecutive year. The academies welcome Yale and six-time NCAA champion Stanford to the tournament for the first time. The Black Knights open the event against Air Force in a Friday afternoon "star" match at noon before taking on Stanford at 5 p.m. that evening. The Black Knights conclude the tournament with a noon match against Yale on Saturday.
The Patriot League portion of Army's schedule gets underway with back-to-back home matches against Lehigh (Sept. 20) and Bucknell (Sept. 21). Road contests at Colgate (Sept. 27), Loyola (Oct. 5) and American (Oct. 6) follow over the next two weeks before the Black Knights wrap-up the first half of conference play at home against Lafayette (Oct. 11), Navy (Oct. 12) and Holy Cross (Oct. 15). Army's annual "star" match against archrival Navy is set for Saturday night as the team goes for its seventh-straight win over the Mids.
Army will play back-to-back matches against Holy Cross when an Oct. 19 visit to Worcester, Mass., follows the Oct. 15 home meeting. The latter marks the beginning of the second round of conference play, during which Army visits Holy Cross, Bucknell (Oct. 25), Lehigh (Oct. 26), Navy (Nov. 15) and Lafayette (Nov. 16). The Black Knights November home dates include tilts with defending conference champion Colgate (Nov. 2), American (Nov. 8) and Loyola (Nov. 9).
The 2013 Patriot League Tournament, which features the top four teams in the regular-season standings, is set for Nov. 23-24 at the site of the highest seed.
Army bid farewell to two-time Patriot League Player of the Year Ariana Mankus, along with all-league performer Francine Vasquez, following May's graduation. The Black Knights' returners include two-time league Setter of the Year Mary Vaccaro and All-Patriot League players Margaux Jarka and D.J. Phee.
The trio headlines a strong group of returning players who enjoyed a highly successful offseason, according to Kovaci.
"If we pick up this preseason where the spring season left off, we will be in wonderful shape," she said. "We had a tremendous spring season from everyone competing hard on the court to those players working equally as hard in their rehab. We're ecstatic with our progress on all levels and look forward to everyone retaking the court as one."
Rising senior Megan Wilton, a first team All-Patriot League performer, missed the entire 2012 conference season with injury. Molly McDonald and Zoe Kreitenberg sustained injuries at the start of spring workouts, but all three are expected to be back for the 2013 campaign.
All home matches are played at Gillis Field House and are free admission. For real-time score and news updates, follow @Army_Volleyball on Twitter or like the Black Knights on Facebook.