Box Score: Army 3, Navy 1
WEST POINT, N.Y. - Freshman MB Megan Wilton totaled 15 kills and sophomore RS Francine Vasquez added 12 to lead the Army volleyball team past service academy rival Navy, 3-1, in front of a packed house on Friday night at Gillis Field House.
Army took a 2-0 lead (25-23, 25-14) before the Mids stayed in the hunt with a 25-18 victory in the second set. The Black Knights hit for a .345 percentage with 13 kills in a convincing 25-10 fourth-set triumph to take the match.
"I'm so proud of the way each and every one of the players fought back," said two-time Patriot League Coach of the Year Alma Kovaci. "Megan (Wilton) and Francine (Vasquez) played so well but they also had a great supporting cast tonight. I was pleased with the team's blocking effort.
"Army-Navy is like no other match on the schedule. I can't say enough about what such an amazing crowd meant to tonight's win. They were there making noise when we needed it. You have to give Navy credit. They are such a well-coached team and have a lot of young talent. They tested us tonight and are only going to get better as those younger players get some experience."
Senior MB Amanda Rowell hit for a .353 percentage with nine kills, while junior OH Fabiola Castro and freshman RS Margaux Jarka added eight kills apiece. Wilton led all players with a .379 hitting percentage. Vasquez completed her second-straight double-double with 15 digs. Senior S Karyn Plwell led all players with 49 assists to go with four kills and three block assists in a solid all-around effort.
Rowell contributed to five total blocks, while Wilton added four of the assisted variety. Senior L Brittany Jensen led all players with 25 digs to anchor an Army defense that held Navy to a .134 hitting effort.
Navy doubled-up Army, 10-5, to open the match. A Wilton kill from Powell proceeded to kick-start a 9-4 Army run as the Black Knights leveled the score at 14-all midway through the action. Army went on to score seven of the next nine points, and a second-hit kill from Powell put the Black Knights in front by a 21-16 score. Despite a late Navy rally, the Black Knights hung on for a 25-23 win as Vasquez finished the set with a kill.
Army dominated the second set by a 25-14 score, although not pulling away until later in the action. The teams were tied 12-12 when the Black Knights began to heat up and establish a slim 14-12 lead on a Wilton kill. Two points later, Vasquez stepped to the service line and rattled off the next 10 points unanswered as the Black Knights dominated the end of the frame.
The Black Knights came out flat to start the third set as Navy made it a 2-1 match after a 25-18 win. The closest set of the night featured 11 ties and five lead changes throughout. Tied at 13-13, Navy scored the next three points unanswered and never recovered.
Army came out with a vengeance in the fourth set and controlled play from the first point until collecting a 25-10 victory. Behind the serving and hitting prowess of Vasquez and freshman OH/DS D.J. Phee, the Black Knights rolled out to a 16-6 lead and never looked back. The final 15-point margin was the largest of the match.
Army has no time to rest as the Black Knights host emerging rival American on Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Gillis Field House. Army, which improved to 17-11 overall and 10-1 in the Patriot League, needs to record a victory over the first-place Eagles by a 3-0 score in order to keep its hopes of hosting the 2010 Patriot League Tournament alive.
"As happy as I was with our effort tonight, our attention now turns to American," Kovaci said. "American is tall and a very, very challenging opponent. We just need to play our game and continue to serve and pass tough against their big players."
Match Notes: Francine Vasquez recorded her fourth double-double of the season ... Brittany Jensen eclipsed the 20-dig mark for the fourth time this season and second match in a row ... Jensen is averaging 26 digs per match in her last two outings ... Army out-dug Navy, 68-51 ... Army totaled seven service aces to Navy's two ... Vasquez accounted for three on her own ... Army defeated Navy (3-0) to win the "Star Match" already this season ... combined with a thrilling 32-30 sprint football win over Navy in Annapolis, Md., for the CSFL title, Army now leads the 2010-11 all-time series against Navy, 5-3.