WEST POINT, N.Y. - Freshman RS Margaux Jarka recorded a career-high 13 kills and hit for a blistering .429 attack percentage to lead the Army volleyball team in a 3-0 (25-18, 25-22, 25-19) Patriot League victory over visiting Holy Cross on Saturday afternoon at Gillis Field House. Junior OH Fabiola Castro added 11 kills and a season-high 16 digs as the Black Knights improved to 4-1 in conference play.
"Our defense was relentless and our transition was much improved," said two-time Patriot League Coach of the Year Alma Kovaci. "I was proud of how this team bounced back from Wednesday's loss (against Manhattan) and really clicked on all cylinders today. Give Holy Cross credit. They are on the right track and are a much improved team. It was our focus to key on Megan Lynch and I thought our defense did a great job of executing the game plan today."
Lynch led Holy Cross (9-14, 2-3 PL) with eight kills, but committed six errors for a .054 attack percentage.
Sophomore RS Francine Vasquez hit .316 and totaled nine kills, while freshman MB Megan Wilton posted a .312 attack percentage to go with eight kills in helping the Army offense to its eighth sweep of the season. Vasquez added 14 digs as did senior L Brittany Jensen.
The Black Knights hit .254 as a team, totaling 49 kills on 114 attempts.
"This was a great team effort," Kovaci added. "Margaux played probably the best that she has all season and Fabby (Castro) came in and performed exactly how we needed her to. I also thought we served and passed tough all afternoon."
Army (11-10, 4-1 PL) combined for seven service aces on the match, including three from junior DS Kristina Keltner. Senior S Karyn Powell led all players with 45 assists to go with two service aces.
The score seesawed to open the match as the teams battled through nine ties and four lead changes in the first set. An Army error gave Holy Cross a 12-7 lead midway through the action. Powell's second-hit kill on the ensuing point jumped started a 5-1 Army run that culminated in Vasquez's cross-court kill to tie the score at 13-13. The teams would find themselves tied for the final time (15-15) on an Army service error. The Black Knights proceeded to out-score the Crusaders 10-3 to close the first set. Keltner produced two of her three service aces down the stretch, while Vasquez also served for four points to key the surge.
Army opened up a 10-6 lead in the second set as Powell went to Jarka for the kill. The Crusaders continued to stay on Army's heels in the early going and trailed by two (12-10) following a Callie Black kill. The Black Knights responded with eight of the next 11 points to take a 20-12 lead after back-to-back kills from Vasquez and Jarka. The Crusaders would not go away, as they out-scored Army 10-5 down the home stretch. However, the deficit proved to be too large for Holy Cross to overcome, and Army entered the break leading the match 2-0.
The Black Knights jumped out in front by an 11-7 score to open the third frame. Army went on to hold at least a five-point lead from there in the most lop-sided set of the match. The Black Knights led by as many as seven (21-14) after consecutive kills courtesy of Jarka and Wilton. With Army holding a 24-17 lead, the Crusaders stayed alive after two Black Knight miscues. Senior MB Amanda Rowell posted one of her five kills to end the match (25-19).
Army continues its four-match homestand with a pair of Patriot League matches next weekend. The Black Knights host Bucknell on Friday, Oct. 15, in what will be the team's "Dig Pink" match. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to the match as Army recognizes Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Colgate then comes to town on Saturday afternoon for a 4 p.m. start.
Match Notes: Freshmen OH D.J. Phee returned to the starting lineup and totaled seven digs ... sophomore OH Ariana Mankus played just two sets on Saturday ... Army committed two reception errors on the afternoon and totaled three blocks to Holy Cross' four ... the win marked head coach Alma Kovaci's 87th career victory.