Oct. 31, 2013
WEST POINT, N.Y. – With just five crucial matches remaining, the Army volleyball team returns to Gillis Field House for its next three, as it first welcomes Colgate (17-6, 9-1 Patriot League) on Saturday, Nov. 2. After breaking their seven-match win streak last Saturday, the Black Knights (12-9, 9-2) are looking to bounce back and secure their 15th Patriot League Tournament berth.
Army is coming off a 1-1 weekend as it captured a five set victory over Bucknell on Friday, Oct. 25, but couldn’t find any rhythm on Saturday, Oct. 26, as it fell to Lehigh, 3-2. The Black Knights are now ranked third in the Patriot League team standings behind Colgate and American.
Sophomore outside hitter Nicole Perri led the Black Knights on offense with 38 kills between both matches, adding an average hitting percentage of .309. Senior co-captain outside hitter Margaux Jarka hit double-double with 29 kills, while leading the defense with 37 digs. Senior middle blocker Megan Wilton and freshman middle blocker Olivia Fairfield also made an impact with 18 and 20 kills, respectively. Both middle blockers contributed on defense, Wilton with six blocks and Fairfield with seven blocks in last weekend’s matches.
Fairfield has made a major statement in her first collegiate season earning Molten Patriot League Rookie of the Week laurels five times, including a four week streak which began on Monday, Sept. 23. The plebe middle blocker ranks second in the conference for hitting percentage with an average of .350.
Senior co-captain libero D.J. Phee has also turned heads capturing the second place spot for most all-time career digs in Patriot League history with 1,710 to date. Phee holds the all-time dig record for most career digs, most digs per set and most digs in a single season for Army.
“It is great to be home this weekend and it will be good for this team to compete against Colgate in front of our fans,” said Army head coach Alma Kovaci. “Colgate is one of the best teams in the conference, they really run like a well-oiled machine, so it will be a touch match but I think we are ready. We need to be aggressive from the start and take care of the ball on our own side. It will be a competitive and fun match to watch so I encourage everyone to come out to Gillis on Saturday to support us.”
Colgate is coming off a successful weekend with two sweeps over Patriot League competitors Bucknell and Lafayatte. The back-to-back, 3-0 matches mark their fifth straight sweep and sixth straight win for Raiders. Colgate has had a near perfect performance in the league posting a 9-1 record, with its only loss coming from American on Oct. 11.
Junior middle blocker Diane Seely leads the Raiders with 251 kills, followed by freshman outside hitter Kathleen Harris who brings 231 kills to Gillis on Saturday.
Colgate and Army have enjoyed some great battles in recent history. The last three regular-season matches between the teams have gone to four sets with the Raiders coming out on top in each instance. Army leads the all-time series with Colgate by a 32-27 margin.
Saturday will also feature a multitude of fan participation opportunities. Fans can vote online at the official Black Knights Facebook page to choose which jersey the Army volleyball will wear versus Colgate. Also available on the Facebook page is the link to the free volleyball clinic and autograph signing that will follow the match. Children in grades K-8 can participate in the Black Knights Youth Night and learn how to serve, dig and kill from their favorite Army volleyball players.
Saturday’s match is set to begin at 4 p.m. and will be broadcast live on Knight Vision (subscription fees apply). Fans who cannot attend can keep up with the Black Knights via GameTracker as well as Army’s personal twitter handle @Army_Volleyball. A game recap and box score will be available on goARMYsports.com following the match.