Bulldogs Suffer Pair of Setbacks in All-Academy Opening Day
Arlington, Va. – The Citadel's Rachael Farrell drove home 10 kills and tacked on 17 digs against Army, but it was the Black Knights Ariana Mankus that keyed the 26-24, 25-23, 25-19 victory in the second match of the All-Academy Tournament.
The duo of Farrell and Amanda Rudnik, who had nine kills en route to a .333 attack percentage, led the Dogs to 34 team kills. Rudnik, like Farrell, also made an impact on the defensive end with 11 digs. Meanwhile, freshman setter Mikaela Tracy added 15 digs and 29 assists. The loss dropped the Bulldogs to 0-8 on the season.
Mankus paired with Megan Wilton, who finished with 12 kills, as Army held a 47-34 edge in kills. Wilton tacked on three assisted blocks, joining Francine Vasquez and Molly McDonald with multiple blocks. The Black Knights managed a .212 attack percentage and also held a distinct 10-4 edge in assisted blocks.
The Citadel edged in front of a tough Army unit, 7-5, in the early stages of the opening set. The Citadel remained in control with four kills from Rudnik over a six-point stretch to make for a 14-9 lead. With the set in the balance, and the Dogs leading 23-17 on a Farrell kill, a series of kills by Marguax Jarka and Wilton trimmed the lead to two. The Citadel quickly rebounded by virtue of a service error, but allowed a kill by Mankus and consecutive service aces from Vasquez to pull the set even at 24. Jarka closed out the frame with back-to-back kills to complete the 26-24 victory.
Army used that momentum in the second set to establish a 10-7 lead before a 5-2 run highlighted by two Rudnik kills drew the score even at 12. The two teams endured two more ties, including a 16-16 score, before the Black Knights moved in front on a Citadel service error. The match remained tight, with Army unable to sustain greater than a three point lead, before kills by Farrell narrowed the margin to 23-22. Two points later, following a d'Angelo strike, Mankus closed out the 25-23 win with a kill.
The Black Knights emerged from the break by outscoring the Dogs 10-7, despite kills by Farrell and Lauren Hurt. Unwilling to give in, The Citadel took advantage of a kill by Cassie Uribe to move the score to 14-12. Army quickly answered with a 6-2 spurt, including points by McDonald, Kelly Horan and Mankus to grab a 20-14 lead. A pair of kills by Farrell and unforced Army errors allowed for just five additional Citadel points in the 25-19 Army victory.
DENVER 3, THE CITADEL 1
Senior Rachael Farrell tallied nine kills and Ise d'Angelo totaled eight kills, but it was the University of Denver that captured the first match of the All-Academy Tournament with a 3-1 (25-15, 25-18, 22-25, 25-15) win on Friday afternoon.
Emily Dalton paced The Citadel's defensive effort with 14 digs, joined by Farrell, Mikaela Tracy and Erin Bucherl finished with six digs apiece. Tracy also made her impact on the offensive end with 22 assists, a team-high. Meanwhile, senior Jessica Maxwell added seven kills to round out a front row that had 39 total kills.
The tandem of Michele Swope and Colleen King combined for 25 kills for a Denver unit that finished with 52 kills and .282 attack percentage. The Pioneers defensive efforts of Kate Acker (11 digs), Lyndi Johnson (10 digs) and Brea Muhle (5 blocks assisted) also proved to be tough for The Citadel offense.
Denver stormed out to an early 9-4 advantage in the first set before a series of unforced errors opened the door for a three-point Citadel rally that pulled the score within a pair. Denver responded with a 10-3 run, highlighted by three kills from Faimie Kingsley and two off the hand of Michele Swope. Trailing 19-10, Lauren Hurt stepped up for the Cadets with a pair of kills, but Denver took advantage of four errors and a late kill by Swope to capture the victory 25-15.
The Pioneers again opened the set strong, assuming a 10-4 lead on a Swope kill. A kill by Cassie Uribe trimmed the margin to four and after Bucherl forced two Denver errors, the score stood at 11-7. Scoring seven of the next 12 points, UD stretched its lead to 19-12 in the late stages of the set. The Citadel finished with just two kills over the final points of the set as the Pioneers completed the 25-18 win.
The Citadel answered with a strong third set, assuming a 14-9 lead as kills by Uribe and Farrell complemented a Maxwell service ace. The Dogs survived a run by the Pioneers, which drew the game to 17-16, responding with strikes by Maxwell, Farrell and Uribe to make for a 22-20 lead. An attack error by Denver's Cassie Ronda opened the door for a three-point cushion and teamed with kills by Hurt and d'Angelo, The Citadel snatched the third set 25-22.
Three kills in the first nine points of the third set provided Denver a lead that it would not relinquish. A kill by Farrell and three straight points with Rachel Keefer in serve trimmed the lead to 7-6. A series of kills by Ronda and Swope gave the Pioneers breathing room as they put together what proved to be an 11-3 run to move in front 18-9. Two kills from the combination of Farrell and Uribe were not enough to pose a threat to UD, who took the match with a 25-15 win.
The Citadel returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 8, when the Dogs meet Air Force (1:30 pm) and Navy (6:00 pm) to complete the All-Academy Tournament. For more information on Bulldog Volleyball, go to the official website of The Citadel Athletics, www.CitadelSports.com.