Sept. 26, 2009
EASTON, Pa. -- After winning the opening two sets of the match, the Navy volleyball team fought off one match point against it before going on to post a five-set victory over Lafayette, Saturday afternoon at the Kirby Sports Center in Easton, Pa. The Midshipmen eventually prevailed over the Leopards by the scores of 25-18, 25-23, 14-25, 23-25, 17-15.
The Mids improved to 1-1 in the Patriot League with the win, while the Leopards fell to 0-2 in league matches with the loss.
The decisive fifth set would see the score tied 13 times and the lead change hands on five occasions. A late kill by Carolyn Ewert (Fr., Bakersfield, Calif.) gave the Mids a 14-13 lead and their first match point opportunity. Kayly Elmer recorded a kill for Lafayette to even the score at 14-14, then a kill by Ashton Rossi gave the Leopards a 15-14 lead. Meghan Carpenter (So., Frederick, Md.) kept the match going as her kill allowed Navy to tie the score at 15-15. Holly Berger (So., Claremont, Calif.) stepped to the service line for Navy and promptly dropped in her fourth ace of the match to make the score 16-15. The match came to a close on the ensuing point when Katrina Racibarskas committed an attack error for the Leopards.
"What a wild match," said Navy head coach Mike Schwob. "Both teams fought hard the whole time. There were so many swings of momentum.
"I've very happy for our players. We played hard last night (in a four-set loss at Lehigh, who posted a victory over American today) but didn't have anything to show for it. Today we kept going after it and battled through the adversity of having to win a fifth set on the road. I think we grew up a lot this weekend. Now we just have to keep it going next week."
Including the fifth set, there were 37 ties and 21 lead changes in the two-hour match. Lafayette would total 106 points in the match, with Navy scoring a total of 104 points.
Lafayette's offense posted 63 kills and a .201 attack percentage, while Navy countered with 56 kills and .173 hitting percentage. The Mids also tallied eight service aces to two for the Leopards. Defensively, both teams recorded 6.0 blocks with the Leopards holding a 64-55 edge in digs.
Both Ewert and Carpenter contributed 16 kills to the Navy effort, while teammate Abbie Merkl (Sr., Upper Marlboro, Md.) totaled 10 kills and a .391 attack percentage. In addition to her four aces, Berger hauled in a Navy-best 14 digs.
Leading all players in the match was Lafayette's Cara Mulholland with 20 kills.
Navy returns home next week for matches Friday against Colgate and Saturday against Bucknell. Both contests will be played in the Wesley A. Brown Field House.