Oct. 16, 2008
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Navy volleyball team will take to the road this weekend for a pair of key Patriot League matches at Colgate and Bucknell. The Mids will first face the Raiders Friday at 6:30 p.m. in Hamilton, N.Y., then will travel to Lewisburg, Pa., to take on the Bison in a 5 p.m. match.
Links to live statistics from both of Navy's matches this weekend can be found on www.navysports.com(.)
As the teams enter the fourth week of league play, Navy is in the middle of the pack of the standings with a 2-3 record. That mark places the Mids in a tie for fourth place with Colgate and Lehigh, while Bucknell is in third place by itself with a 3-2 record. All of the teams are chasing American and Army, both of which bring 5-0 records with them into the week.
Navy saw its four-match winning streak come to an end in its most recent outing, a five-set (15-11 in the fifth) loss at American last Friday. Despite the setback to the seven-time league champion, the contest was another in a string of very well played matches by the Mids.
"We were disappointed in the outcome of our match against American," said Navy head coach Mike Schwob. "We let some great opportunities slip away from us. On the whole, though, I was excited by how we challenged American in the match, as well as the effort we displayed. We want to continue playing at that high level this week, and we will need to in order for us to have success."
The two matches prior to the start of Navy's recently concluded winning streak were home three-set losses to Bucknell (25-15, 26-24, 25-21) and Colgate (25-18, 25-17, 25-22). The Mids struggled on offense in both of the matches against the Bison and the Raiders. Bucknell held a .222-.175 advantage over Navy in hitting percentage in the match, with Colgate holding a .282-.181 edge in its win over Navy.
Alexa Gibbs (Sr., Springfield, Ill.) and Jessie Sims (Sr., Etowah, N.C.) both reached double figures in kills against both the Bison and the Raiders. The duo combined for 24 of Navy's 37 kills against Bucknell and for 23 of Navy's 37 kills against Colgate. Kaitlin Segal's 16 kills led the Bucknell attack against the Mids, while Colgate's Katrina Zawojski and Kaylee Dougherty tallied 13 and 12 kills, respectively, and individual hitting percentages of over .400 in its win over Navy.
"We were not pleased with how we played during our first matches of the year against Bucknell and Colgate," said Schwob. "You have to first give credit for that to those two teams for the way they played against us, though. They took control of each set and never let us get into any kind of rhythm. I look back and see those matches as being kind of a wake-up call for us. We have played much better since those matches, though we still have a lot of room for improvement."
Gibbs and Sims also rank Nos. 1-2 on the Navy team in kills per set during the entire league campaign, as well as Nos. 3-4 among the Patriot League kill leaders. Gibbs is pacing the Mids with an average of 3.79 kills per set, while Sims is close behind with an average of 3.53 kills per set. Gibbs also leads Navy in attack percentage (.347), and blocks (0.89 bps), with Sims third on the team in digs (2.26 dps).
Navy as a team is slightly outhitting its league foes (.231-.224) and has posted nearly identical numbers to its opponents in kill, digs and blocks per set. The Mids rank second in the league in digs (13.53 dps), third in kills (12.68 kps), hitting percentage and assists (11.21 aps), fourth in blocks (1.68 bps), fifth in opponent hitting percentage and seventh in service aces (1.21 saps).
Zawojski is one of three Raiders to be averaging multiple kills per set this season (3.38 kps), while Segal (4.00 kps) and Heidi Kamp (3.07 kps) lead the Bison offense. Among the Patriot League kill leaders, Segal ranks second, Zawojski fifth and Kamp 10th.
The Colgate team has totaled a .206 hitting percentage in league matches and has allowed opponents to hit at a .231 clip this year. The Raiders rank fourth in hitting percentage, fifth in kills (11.44 kps), digs (11.31 dps) and blocks (1.66 bps), and sixth in opponent hitting percentage, assists (10.31 aps) and service aces (1.31 saps).
Despite having a 3-2 record on the year, the Bison are narrowly being outhit by their opponents in league matches (.198-.191). Bucknell stands second among league teams in service aces (2.07 saps), third in opponent hitting percentage, fourth in kills (11.67 kps), fifth in hitting percentage and assists (10.33 aps) and sixth in both blocks (1.27 bps) and digs (10.87 dps).
Twelve of Navy's 19 sets played during the league season have been decided by five points or less, with the Mids evenly splitting the decision in those 12 contests. The Raiders, meanwhile, are 3-3 this season in close sets this year and the Bison have posted a 5-1 record in narrowly decided sets.
Navy holds an 8-7 advantage over Bucknell in matches played against the Bison in Lewisburg and has won on two of its last three trips to Davis Gym. Colgate, however, has won 10 of the 13 all-time matches against Navy that have been played in Hamilton and holds a three-match winning streak over the Mids on Cotterell Court.