WEST POINT, N.Y. – Army West Point continued its success against the Marist Red Foxes in a 3-0 sweep for their twenty fifth win in thirty all-time matchups.
The Marist volleyball team traveled down Route 9W to take on the Black Knights in what seems to be an annual matchup. The two teams have played each other at least once every season dating back to 1995, with the lone exception being 2004.
In last year’s contest in Poughkeepsie, the Red Foxes defeated Army by a score of three sets to two, for their second win in the last five matches, not including Tuesday night.
Marist went with a different starting lineup to begin the match, most notably starting Chidera Udeh at middle blocker. It was Udeh’s first start of this season, after having been consistently in the starting lineup the previous two.
“We wanted to get some kids who have been working hard in the gym some time,” said head coach Sean Byron. “Stephanie [Stone] is pretty beat up, so we wanted to rest her. We wanted to give Sophia [Theriot] a rest to try and give the other kids in and get some reps against a good team.”
The Gillis Field House crowd was split, as there were about the same amount of Marist fans to Army fans. The crowd was not that much into the match throughout the contest, as nobody really seemed to show spirit of any kind toward either team.
Storylines entering this match included senior outside hitter Nikki DeSerpa, who was in eighth place on Marist’s all-time kill list, behind assistant coach Kelsey Lahey for seventh.
DeSerpa finished the match with a game-high nine kills, which propelled her into seventh place, surpassing her coach. DeSerpa now has one thousand twenty-one career kills, and is four away from sixth place and nine away from fifth.
Senior outside hitter Megan Fergus is also in the top ten on the all-time kills list; she entered the match in ninth. Fergus finished with six kills on the night. She now has 985 career kills, and is 30 away from passing Lahey for eighth.
It was a relatively back-and-forth first set until Army went on a run once the score was tied 8-8, which resulted in a Marist timeout. Army won the set by a score of 25-18 after the Red Foxes erred their way throughout the set.
After the teams switched sides for the second set, Army’s momentum, along with Marist’s errors, continued. Marist accumulated many attack errors and could not respond to Army’s offensive pressure. That, along with poor defensive play as well, resulted in an Army second set win by a score of 25-10.
The Red Foxes looked confused on defense throughout the set, meaning there would be two or three defenders around the ball, resulting in miscommunication and points for Army.
“They are very different than MAAC teams,” said Byron. “They are very deliberate. They play more like us, and I thought that was really good for our kids.”
After the second break, Marist looked for a rally to dig themselves out of a 2-0 hole. There was minimal crowd support and no student section. They had to find it themselves.
Fergus left the game in tears early in the third set due to an apparent wrist or forearm injury. She was standing with her teammates with ice wrapped around her arm and a towel. After substitutions and points, the Red Foxes made their way over to Fergus to console her.
“[Fergus] just dinged it. She actually did it in the first set,” said Byron. “She’s okay.”
After being down 15-10 in the third, Marist rallied to bring the score to 19-17 Army, which forced Army to call a timeout. Marist found the rally they were looking for, but it didn’t matter. After being down 23-21 in the third set, Army scored the match’s final two points on an ace and a Marist service error.
The loss ended Marist’s three-match win streak and dropped their record to 5-9 on the season.
“We’re not going to have to see, no pun intended, missiles against us like Army was serving us [against Siena],” said Byron.
The Red Foxes look forward to getting back into conference play as their next matchup comes against the Siena Saints on Friday, October 4 in McCann Arena.