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Women's Volleyball

Navy Beats Army In Straight Sets For First Star

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Navy collected it's first star of the 2018-19 Star Series presented by USAA when the Midshipmen volleyball team defeated Army 3-0 on Saturday. 

With a talented senior class leading the way, the Navy volleyball team posted a three-set victory over an Army West Point squad that did not have a senior on its roster Saturday night in the annual Star Match between the service academy programs at the Wesley A. Brown Field House in Annapolis.  The Mids (13-6, 5-1 Patriot League) posted a 25-18, 25-16, 25-23 victory over the Black Knights (7-12, 2-4) in front of an overflow crowd in the facility. 

"The atmosphere was electric," said Navy head coach Paco Labrador, who became just the second (of six) Navy head coach to win his inaugural Star Match.  "The crowd was a huge advantage and really helped us, especially in set three."

Headlining the efforts of the senior class was setter Patricia Mattingly (Sr., New Albany, Ind.), who set the Navy record for career assists with her second helper of the night.  She also shared the match lead tonight with 12 digs, recorded a match high four blocks –– two of them solo blocks –– dropped in three kills and delivered one service ace.
Mattingly has now registered 3,421 assists and needs just 15 more digs to become the eighth player in Patriot League history to record over 3,000 assists as well as 1,000 digs. 
Mattingly's classmates also had strong efforts across the lineup.  Middle hitter Katie Patrick (Sr., Aurora, Colo.) recorded nine kills, a .333 attack percentage and three blocks, libero Sydney Shearn (Sr., Louisville, Ky.) snared nine digs and handed out five assists, defensive specialist Darby Minton (Sr., Chino Hills, Calif.) grabbed seven digs and recorded one ace, and outside hitter Kelsey Kingsland (Sr., Blackwell, Mo.) registered seven kills and two blocks.
"Our middles worked extremely hard in transition and Trish was incredible at the net and on the floor digging," said Labrador.  "Achieving this milestone is truly a testament to her hard work and the exceptional teams she has led."
"It was an exciting and enthusiastic crowd," said team captain Minton.  "They fired us up.  Sometimes with a big crowd, players can shy away, but the opposite happened.  We played as a team.
"Beating Colgate in three sets (last night) was a huge confidence boost for us heading into tonight."
Navy never trailed in winning the first set and led from when it scored back-to-back points to take a 4-2 lead.  The Mids never could really separate, though, until a 6-2 run gave them a 19-13 cushion.  Army quickly answered and pulled to within three points at 21-18, after which Labrador called timeout.  Mattingly registered a kill on an Army blocking error after the stoppage, then Kingsland posted a kill to extended the advantage out to 23-18.  It became 24-18 on an Army attack error, then another hitting error by the Black Knights gave the Mids the 25-18 victory.
The second set was very similar to the first in that the Mids held a slim lead until the midpoint of the frame when it gradually built a cushion.  The Navy lead was just 13-12 when an Army service error doubled the lead and gave the Mids the serve back.  A block by the tandem of Mattingly and Sarena Seelbach (Jr., Chapel Hill, N.C.) made the score 15-12, then back-to-back hitting errors by the Black Knights pushed the lead to 17-12 and resulted in an Army timeout.  Navy closed the frame on an 8-4 run to take a 2-0 advantage in sets.
Navy seemed to be on its way to a sweep as it took leads of 6-2, 10-4, 15-8 and 17-12.  The Mids soon went on a 3-0 run to take a 21-15 lead, with the teams trading the next four sideouts to make the score 23-17.  Army promptly went on a 5-0 run to close to within one point at 23-22.  Maddi Sgattoni (So., Pittsburgh, Pa.) stopped the run with her 10th kill of the match to take Navy to match point with a 24-22 lead.  Army then erased Navy's serve for the match with a kill.  Sgattoni received the ensuing serve from Army and her pass forced Mattingly within breathing distance of the net.  Needing to avoid hitting the net, she would one-hand set the ball to Kingsland on the very far left side of the court.  Despite being somewhat pinned on the outside towhere she could not hit down the line, Kingsland instead rocketed the ball past the Army blockers and into an open spot on the far right side of the court to close out the 85-minute match.
Key to the Navy victory was it being able to win the sideout aspect of the match (scoring off of the other team's serve).  The Mids allowed Army to score just 16 points on Navy's 59 serves in the match, with the Black Knights recording half of those 16 points in the third set.  While Navy sided out on 72 percent of Army's serves (43 of 59), the Black Knights tallied points on just 56 percent of the 73 service offerings by the Mids (41 of 73).
"Our passers really won the match for us tonight," said Labrador.  "We more than exceeded our side-out goals in every set, which really set the tone for our consistent, steady play."
The service line had a big hand in Navy's ability to successfully sideout.  The Mids registered four aces and an equal number of service errors, with the Black Knights tallying one ace and eight service errors.
Navy recorded only 40 kills in the match, but limited Army to 34 kills for the evening, with nearly half (16) coming in set three.  The Mids would outhit the Black Knights, .223-107.  Aiding the hitting percentage advantage was Navy recording nine blocks and Army finishing with just three blocks.
In addition to the efforts of the senior class, Sgattoni added eight digs, one block and one ace to her Navy-high 10 kills, Seelbach posted six kills, three digs and three blocks and Emily Solis (Jr., Leesburg, Va.) tied Mattingly for the lead with 12 digs.
This is the second Star Match won by the senior class.  The Mids also won the 2016 Star Match in three sets.  Navy lost in five sets in both the 2015 and '17 Star Matches that were played at West Point.