FAIRFAX, Va. - An early deficit spelled defeat for the Army volleyball team in a 3-1 loss to Charlotte on Saturday afternoon at the George Mason Patriot Invitational. Sophomore OH Ariana Mankus led the Black Knights with her third double-double (11 kills, 10 digs) of the season.
Charlotte made a statement early as the 49ers took a 2-0 lead with 25-19 and 25-11 wins in the first and second sets, respectively. The Black Knights managed to salvage a 25-23 victory in the third, but Charlotte was able to outlast Army, 29-27, in the fourth to take the match. Army dropped its fourth match in a row and fell to 2-4 on the year, while Charlotte improved to 3-2.
Mankus was the only Army player to reach double figures in kills, while she also added two total blocks. Senior MB Amanda Rowell finished with nine kills and five blocks, while senior S Karyn Powell registered a double-double with 33 assists and 16 digs.
The teams played to an 8-8 tie early in the opening set. Charlotte scored eight of the next 11 points to surge ahead by a 16-11 score. Army would get no closer than three the rest of the way.
Army fell behind early in the second set and the offense continued to struggle throughout. The Black Knights mustered just four kills and totaled the fewest points it has in any set this season (11). The final 14-point margin marked the largest lead by either team all day.
The Black Knights came out of the break and took a 10-7 lead in the early part of the third set. Army managed to keep Charlotte at bay for opening half of the contest. The set featured nine ties with the final knot coming at 22-22 late in the action. The 49ers made it 24-23 on a kill from Kara Raker, but kill from Army freshman Margaux Jarka secured Army's first victory of the day.
A highly competitive fourth set entertained 18 ties and nine lead changes, while also showing a spark in Army's offense. Niether team led by more than three points the entire way, while the teams played point-for-point down the stretch. Tied at 25-all, the Black Knights kept battling but were never able to play for set-point. Despite another tie (27-27), Army could not seal the deal as Charlotte scored the final two points on a kill and an Army attacking error.
Raker and Bianca Rouse led the 49ers with 13 and 14 kills, respectively.
The Black Knights return to the court for their final match of the tournament when the team takes on West Virginia at 4:30 p.m. today. Please check back on www.goARMysports.com for complete results.
Match Notes: Army dropped a 3-2 match to host George Mason on Friday night ... Saturday marked the first meeting between Army and Charlotte in volleyball ... the match lasted two hours and was the third of the two-day invitational.