Nov. 5, 2014
The American win was its 25th in a row against Patriot League foes, during which time it has posted a 75-8 record in sets. Navy had dropped a 25-22, 25-16, 25-12 decision to the Eagles earlier this year in Washington, D.C.
“American serves the ball better than anyone else in the league right now,” said Navy head coach Larry Bock. “We got caught in some bad runs from several of their servers tonight. We became a little impatient with the subsequent out-of-system situations we found ourselves in.”
The first set saw the score tied nine times and the lead change hands on three occasions. Navy (11-11, 8-5 Patriot League) built a lead of as many as four points at 13-9 before American (21-5, 12-0) tied the frame at 16-16. First the Mids and then the Eagles went on 3-0 runs to make the score 19-19, then the teams exchanged single points to tie the set at 20-20. Allison Cappellino knocked down a kill for American to break the tie, after which Bock used his first timeout. The stoppage in play worked as American’s Hoakalei Dawson promptly served the ball long to tie the score and 21-21.
The Mids tallied the ensuing three points, all of which were tallied on blocks. Tara Dotzauer (Fr., Raleigh, N.C.) notched the first one, with Gaby Smith (So., Virginia Beach, Va.) recording each of the next two to take Navy to set point with a 24-21 lead. American erased the first chance for the Mids to win the set on a kill from Cappellino, which led to Bock calling for his second timeout. Megan Rosburg dropped back to serve for the Eagles and her offering wasn’t handled well by the Mids. Her ace drew the Eagles to within one point of Navy at 24-23, however, her second attempt sailed long to give the opening set to the Mids.
American took a 6-5 lead early in the second set when setter Monika Smidova stepped to the service line. She recorded aces on two of her first three offerings and didn’t give up her serve until she had given the Eagles a 15-5 advantage.
Navy tied to chip away at the deficit, but the closest the Mids could close to was within six points at 23-17.
The Eagles tried to separate themselves from the Mids at the start of the third set as they took an early 8-4 lead. Navy responded by tying the frame at 10-10, and remained within a scant number of points through American taking an 18-17 lead. The Eagles would tally the next seven points to build a 2-1 advantage in sets.
The fourth set was pretty much a replay of the second set. Smidova dropped back to serve with American holding a 7-6 lead, and what would prove to be her final offering was with the Eagles in front by the count of 19-6.
“We have a bunch of positives from tonight that we can and will build upon,” said Bock. “I was very pleased with not just winning the first set, but also how we won it. And I was pleased with how our libero, Alli Graf (So., Annapolis, Md.) played.”
Navy outhit American, .250-.077, in the first set, but the Eagles still outhit the Mids for the match, .310-.119. American also posted 54 kills, seven aces and 11 blocks, while Navy tallied 40 kills, two aces and seven blocks. The Eagles also held just a 58-57 advantage over the Mids in digs.
Cappellino led all players in the match with 17 kills, while teammate Kelly McCaddin tallied 11 kills and a .588 attack percentage. Rosburg paced the American passers with 20 digs, while Erin Swartz accrued seven blocks.
“I was really impressed with American as a team,” said Bock. “They have such good players, and they are so well coached. That’s a tough combination to go against when they are `on’ as they were tonight.”
The loss drops Navy into fourth place in the Patriot League standings with three matches remaining for the team in the regular season. The Mids will play host to third-place Colgate (8-4) Saturday at 4 p.m. in the final home match of the year for Navy. After that, Navy will play Nov. 14 at Holy Cross (5-7) and Nov. 15 at fifth-place Army (7-5).