Nov. 1, 2007
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Navy volleyball team will attempt to climb closer to the Patriot League playoffs this weekend when the Midshipmen take to the road for matches against Colgate and Bucknell. The Mids will face the Raiders Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Hamilton, N.Y, then will take on the Bison Saturday at 5 p.m. in Lewisburg, Pa.
Only four matches remain in the Patriot League season and the Mids are clinging to the fourth and final spot in the postseason with a 5-5 record. Navy enters the week standing one match ahead of Bucknell and two in front of sixth-place Lafayette.
American and Colgate are tied for first place in the Patriot League with 9-1 records, with the two teams slated to face each other Saturday night. Meanwhile, Army is in third place in the standings with an 8-2 record in league play.
"As long as we win, we don't have to pay attention to the many playoff scenarios," said Navy head coach Mike Schwob. "To do so, we will have to step up our game from what it has been the last two weeks. The effort has been there, but we need the execution level to match in order to be successful."
The Mids had their opportunity to defeat Colgate the first time the teams met in Annapolis, but squandered a 2-0 lead in games in an eventual 29-31, 27-30, 30-26, 30-23, 15-13 loss. Navy held a .325-.224 advantage in hitting percentage in games one and two, but Colgate posted a .253-.184 advantage over the final three games.
Individually, Navy's Rachel Dougherty (Sr., Derwood, Md.) paced all players with 22 kills in the match, with teammates Alexa Gibbs (Jr., Springfield, Ill.) and Jessie Sims (Jr., Etowah, N.C.) adding 20 and 17 kills, respectively. Dougherty also added a Navy-best 15 digs, with Krista Eschelman (So., Germantown, Md.) contributing eight blocks.
Casey Ritt (20), Katrina Zawojski (19) and Merryl Pohl (18) combined for 57 of Colgate's 77 kills on the night, while Zawojski also added a match-high 20 digs.
Navy recorded a 30-27, 30-20, 30-28 victory over Bucknell when the teams played each other earlier this season in Macdonough Hall. The Mids held slim advantages of 48-45 in kills, .280-.230 in hitting percentage and 40-36 in digs over the Bison, while Bucknell tallied 5.0 team blocks to Navy's 4.0 in the match. The one area in which there was a noticeable statistical difference between the squads was in serving where the Mids tallied eight service aces and the Bison finished with just two.
Jenna Henderson led all players with 18 kills on the night, but she was the lone Bison to reach double figures. In contrast, Dougherty (16), Sims (13) and Gibbs (10) all reached double digits for Navy. The Mids also were balanced on defense with six players hauling in at least five digs in the match, while Henderson and Jennifer Rupp both grabbed 11 digs for Bucknell.