Oct. 1, 2009
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- After playing its last 11 matches on the road, the Navy volleyball team returns home this weekend to play host to Patriot League foes Colgate and Bucknell. The Mids and the Raiders will face each other Friday night at 7 p.m., with the match between the Mids and Bison slated to start Saturday at 12 Noon. Both matches will be played in the Wesley A. Brown Field House and are free for all fans.
Fans will have a pair of opportunities to meet the Navy players and receive an autographed 2009 team poster. The Mids will hold an autograph session immediately following the conclusion of Friday night's match against Colgate, as well as during halftime of Saturday's Navy vs. Air Force football game at nearby Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Saturday's football game also has altered the shuttle bus schedule for fans wishing to attend sports events being played on The Yard. Friday night, the shuttle bus will leave from and return to the Navy Exchange (321 Kinkaid Rd., Annapolis) between the hours of 6-10:30 p.m. Saturday, there will not be a shuttle bus at all, so fans will need to park outside the gates of the Naval Academy and walk onto its grounds. All fans are reminded to bring with them a government issued photo identification card in order to obtain access.
Navy enters week two of Patriot League play with a 1-1 record. The Mids opened their conference season last week with a four-set loss to Lehigh and a five-set win over Lafayette.
The Mids hit .165 and allowed Lehigh and Lafayette to hit a combined .212 on the weekend. Navy held a 13-9 advantage in service aces over its two foes, but the Mids were on the short end in both defensive statistical categories. Navy was outdug by two digs a set and outblocked by an average of three blocks per set in the two matches.
Pacing Navy in kills was the tandem of Meghan Carpenter (So., Frederick, Md.) and Carolyn Ewert (Fr., Bakersfield, Calif.), who averaged 3.33 and 2.78 kills per set, respectively. Holly Berger (So., Claremont, Calif.) dropped in a team-high four service aces on the weekend while also grabbing a team-best 3.00 digs per set. Her dig average was just ahead of the 2.56 dig average recorded by setter Jenny Rudewicz (Jr., Winter Garden, Fla.). Navy's top blocker on the trip to the Lehigh Valley was Krista Eschelman (Sr., Germantown, Md.) with a total of six blocks.
Navy picked up its second consecutive victory Tuesday night with a three-set sweep of Coppin State.
"We're excited about the weekend," said Navy head coach Mike Schwob. "It will be nice to play a match at home again. It has been a month since we last played at home, and I think we are a different team than we were when we last played on The Yard. We learned a great deal about ourselves during this time and are anxious to display that. We have two tough opponents to face this weekend. We always have great matches with both Colgate and Bucknell. All three teams have the same league record and very similar overall records, so this weekend should be no different. We want to keep our strong play of late going."
Colgate posted a five-set victory over Holy Cross in its Patriot League opening match before losing a four-set contest to Army the following day. All but one of Colgate's nine sets played last weekend in Hamilton, N.Y., were decided by five points or less.
The Raiders totaled a .256 attack percentage over the two matches to better the mark of .221 recorded by Holy Cross and Army, but the two opponents averaged nearly two more kills per set than Colgate did. Though the Raiders held a slim lead over their foes in blocks per set (1.56-1.28 bps), they in turn trailed in dig average (13.33-12.56 dps).
Individually for Colgate, four different players averaged multiple kills per set over the opening weekend of play, with Kaylee Dougherty leading the team at 2.56 kills per set. Casey Ritt and Dougherty also led Colgate in hitting percentage with marks of .447 and .388, respectively. Anchoring the defense for Colgate was Devon Applegate with 4.44 digs per set and Ritt with an average of 0.89 blocks per set.
Bucknell began its Patriot League campaign with a four-set loss to Army and a three-set sweep of Holy Cross. Both of those matches were played in Lewisburg, Pa. The Bison will play Friday night at American before making the short drive to Annapolis to face the Mids.
The Bucknell offense put together an attack percentage of .138 against Army and Holy Cross, while its defense held the Black Knights and the Crusaders to a mark of .098. Both the Bison and their foes averaged over 15 digs per set, with Bucknell enjoying a sizeable advantage in blocks per set (2.86-1.86 bps).
Heidi Kamp and Kaitlin Segal both averaged 2.57 kills per set for Bucknell over the opening weekend of play, with Kamp also recording a .302 attack percentage and Segal dropping in a team-high five service aces. Defensively, Emily Sawanobori hauled in 5.15 digs per set in the two matches, while Ragin Jackson tallied a 1.86 blocks-per-set average.
Both Colgate and Bucknell posted a pair of three-set sweeps over Navy during the 2008 season.