Mankus Leads Army In 3-1 Win Over UNC Wilmington

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Sophomore OH Ariana Mankus bolstered the Army offense with 20 kills in a 3-1 victory over UNC Wilmington in the final match of the Butler Volleyball Invitational on Saturday afternoon at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

The victory improved Army to 4-7 overall and marked the team's lone victory over three matches at the  Butler Invite this weekend. UNC Wilmington fell to 3-7.

After dropping a close first set (27-25), the Black Knights took the next three (25-19, 25-17, 25-21) sets in convincing fashion.

Mankus recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 12 digs to go with a sparkling .405 hitting percentage. The Lisle, Ill., native totaled just three errors in 42 attempts. Freshman MB Megan Wilton amassed a career-high 13 kills and a .458 attack percentage. Sophomore OH Fabiola Castro, senior MB Amanda Rowell and sophomore RS Francine Vasquez each recorded eight kills.

Army enjoyed its best offensive outing of the tournament, totaling 63 kills and recording a .265 hitting percentage as a team. Senior S Karyn Powell amassed a career-high 51 assists to lead all players. Five Army players had at least 18 attempts.

Vasquez and Powell led the Black Knights with three blocks apiece, while Vasquez paced the defense with 16 digs.

The lead seesawed to start the opening set, but the Black Knights broke a 13-13 tie with a 6-1 run to pull ahead by a 19-14 score on a Wilton kill. UNC Wilmington scored eight of the next 11 points to level the score at 22-all heading down the home stretch. The score would be tied at 24-24 and 25-25, but it was the Seahawks scoring the final two points on a kill and ace.

Again the teams played back-and-forth to start the second set. The final tie of the set came at 15-15 and it was then that the Black Knights closed the session riding a 10-4 run en route to the 25-19 victory.

Army cruised to a 9-3 lead in the third and never looked back. Mankus and rookie OH D.J. Phee each had two kills during the Black Knights' fast start. Army led by at least five points the rest of the way before securing a 25-17 win.

With a chance to put the match away, Army got off to a slower start in a fourth set that featured five ties and two lead changes. Trailing 17-11 following a UNC Wilmington service ace, the Black Knights began to inch back into the set and used an 8-2 run to knot the score at 19-19 on a Phee service ace. Back-to-back Mankus kills ensued and jumpstarted Army's match-ending 6-2 run.

Keli Clear led the Seahawks with 13 kills and 13 digs on the match.

The Black Knights do not have any mid-week matches scheduled and return to action next weekend at home with the West Point Challenge. The five-team tournament will take place at Army's Christl Arena, the everyday home for the men's and women's basketball teams. Buffalo, Bryant, Hofstra and Air Force will make their way to West Point. Army's Friday night service academy showdown with Air Force will be available to ITT Knight Vision subscribers. Click here for a complete weekend schedule.
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