WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a rematch of the 2009 Patriot League Championship match, the outcome was reversed as a veteran American club came away with a 3-0 win over defending champion Army on Friday night at Bender Arena. Sophomore RS Francine Vasquez paced the Black Knight offense with nine kills to go with a match-high 11 digs.
American set the tone early in a 25-18 victory in the opening set. The Black Knights, however, kept things close in the final two sets, falling by a combined five points (25-22, 25-23) in sets two and three. The Eagles improved to 15-2 overall and extended their win streak to nine matches. American is now the only remaining unbeaten in Patriot League with a 3-0 mark. Army evened its record to 9-9 on the season and 2-1 in conference play.
American got 13 kills from three-time Patriot League Player of the Week Magdalena Tekiel and 11 kills out of senior Angelina Waterman. The Eagles hit for a .215 percentage, while holding Army to a .147 mark.
Sophomore OH Ariana Mankus totaled six kills and eight digs, while freshman MB Megan Wilton also added six kills to go with a match-high six total blocks. Freshman MB Megan Forbes contributed four kills. Senior S Karyn Powell amassed 25 assists in the effort.
American raced out to a 7-1 lead out of the gate, thanks in large part to Tekiel's serving consistency. The Black Knights slowly chipped away at the deficit, but never inched any closer than four points the rest of the way. The Eagles hit for a .269 percentage in the opening set.
The second set opened with the Black Knights doubling-up the Eagles by a 6-3 score. Forbes served for four of Army's first six points, while the Black Knights took advantage of a handful of early American errors. The Eagles responded with an 8-3 run to go on top by an 11-9 score as Army head coach Alma Kovaci called timeout. The teams played through seven ties from there with the Eagles continually holding the lead for the majority of play. American broke a 17-17 tie with an 8-5 run to seal the set and take a 2-0 lead into the break.
The Eagles' momentum continued to roll into the start of the third frame as they took a 9-5 lead on a Bianca Richardson kill. A gutsy 6-2 Black Knight run ensued to level the score at 11-11 on an American miscue. With the score tied at 12-12, the Eagles scored the next four points unanswered and did not fall behind from that point. Army did not show any quit heading down the stretch, avoiding conceding the match through three American set-point chances before the Eagles ended the contest with a Tekiel kill.
Patriot League play continues for the Black Knights on Saturday night as they travel to service-academy rival Navy for a 7 p.m. showdown. Saturday night's service academy match-up will serve as the annual "Star Match" between the two programs and will be broadcast live online through Navy All-Access. Click here for more information.
Match Notes: Freshman OH D.J. Phee changed jerseys to serve as the libero for Friday night's third set ... freshman S Lauren Wood also drew court time in the third set ... sophomore S Alicia Dotson played sets one and two and was utilized in the serving game ... Friday marked the first time since Sept. 10 at Butler that a team has hit over .200 against the Black Knights ... Army has won the last eight "Star" matches against Navy, but the Mids were the winners of a 3-1 decision in the last meeting in Annapolis.