Oct. 18, 2014
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A hot-hitting Navy volleyball team posted a three-set victory over Loyola Saturday afternoon at the Wesley A. Brown Field House in Annapolis. The Mids improved their league mark to 5-3 with the 25-12, 25-16, 25-21 victory over the Greyhounds, who are still in search of their first win during the league campaign (0-8).
“Loyola is really hurting right now with some serious injuries,” said Navy head coach Larry Bock of the Greyhounds, who had only eight healthy players in uniform today. “It would have been easy for us to come out at just 50 percent, but our effort was similar to what we put forth last night (when Navy played at first-place American). It was a really good effort by us.”
Navy quickly jumped out to a 13-3 lead to take early control of the first set. The Mids would hit .391 in the set while limiting the Greyhounds to a mark of .000.
The second set was much tighter as the Mids held just a 14-12 lead midway through the frame. Navy’s cushion was just three points at 18-15 when the sixth service error of the set by Loyola gave the serve back to the Mids with a 19-15 lead. The teams traded points (20-16), then a kill by Maggie Phillips (Fr., Leesburg, Va.) ignited a set-closing 5-0 run for Navy. A Loyola attack error followed the kill by Phillips, then Phillips knocked down another kill to give Navy a 23-16 lead. Rachel Fortner (Fr., Vill Hills, Ky.) dropped in an ace to take Navy to set point, which it converted on another attack error by the Greyhounds.
Navy would hold just a 6-5 lead early in the third set when a 5-1 run gave it an 11-6 cushion. The Mids were able to slowly extend their advantage out to 17-9, but the Greyhounds chipped away and soon the Navy lead was just four points at 18-14. The lead would hover between four and six points until Loyola cut it down to three at 24-21. Fortner would tally a kill on the ensuing point to close out the match.
“Loyola takes some gigantic swings at the ball,” said Bock. “It was really impressive that we were as successful at getting digs on as many of those as we did. It was both good offense and good defense by the two teams.”
Seven different Mids tallied at least three kills in the match, with Phillips pacing the squad with seven. Navy’s middle hitters had a very productive day as the troika of Alex Cassel (Sr., Sandy, Utah), Katie Sylakowski (Jr., Escondido, Calif.) and Allison Latham (So., Merrimack, N.H.) combined for 10 kills and just two attack errors on 20 attempts (.400).
“It was nice to see our middle hitters get going,” said Bock.
Helping limit Loyola to a hitting percentage of .078 for the match was the play of Navy libero Alli Graf (So., Annapolis, Md.), who snared 22 of the team’s 48 digs on the afternoon.
“Alli completed a very good weekend,” said Bock of Graf, who tallied 20 digs in three sets last night against the Eagles. “I like the way our defense is coming along, and Alli is right there in the middle of it all.”
Navy posted 36 kills and a .291 hitting percentage for the match, with the latter falling just shy of the team’s season high of .292 set against The Citadel on the opening weekend of the season. The Mids also dropped in seven service errors and recorded six blocks.
Saturday’s match closed the first half of the Patriot League season for Navy. The Mids are currently tied with Colgate for third place in the league standings with identical 5-3 records, with Army one-half of a game back with a record of 5-4 and Holy Cross just another half-game back with a mark of 4-5. Only the top-four teams in the final standings will advance to the Patriot League Tournament.
Navy’s next match will be Friday night when the Mids travel to Baltimore to face these same Greyhounds.
“This was a good way for us to finish the first cycle through the league,” said Bock. “Now we have to gear back up and be ready to face Loyola again to start the second half. Things are really tight in the race for the playoffs, so we will need this same type of effort again Friday night.”