Navy’s 2018 season began with the Mids taking part in the Penn State Classic. The Mids opened the year with a 3-0 victory over UMBC (25-13, 25-17, 25-19) and followed that performance with a 3-0 win over Eastern Kentucky (25-21, 26-24, 25-18). Navy’s weekend closed with a 3-0 loss to tournament-host and sixth-ranked Penn State (25-15, 25-21, 25-11). The match was the fifth for the Mids in school history against a nationally ranked team.
“Last weekend was a great opportunity to see some of our younger players in the lineup and some returning players who don’t have much match experience,” said Navy head coach Paco Labrador. “I was very proud of how poised our freshmen were and how seamlessly they meshed with our experienced, returning players. Our passers sustained their focus very well, allowing us to side-out fairly consistently.
“We are working on continuing to calibrate our offensive connections. Last weekend we connected well, but we still had moments where our hitters were managing their swings more than we would like. Defensively, we have a big challenge ahead of us this weekend and we need to continue the scrappy play that held UMBC to a .009 hitting percentage and Eastern Kentucky to a .099 hitting percentage.”
Maddi Sgattoni –– NAAA Athlete of the Week, presented by Northrop Grumman
Maddi Sgattoni (So., Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Katie Patrick (Sr., Aurora, Colo.) were named to the all-tournament team at the Penn State Classic. Sgattoni averaged a team-best 3.78 kills per set and ranked second on the squad to libero Sydney Shearn (Sr., Louisville, Ky.) with an average of 2.89 digs per set. She opened the season with a 15-kill, 7-dig performance against UMBC, then tallied 10 kills and 10 digs against Eastern Kentucky. Sgattoni just missed her second double-double of the day when she tallied nine kills and nine digs against No. 6 Penn State.
Sgattoni’s efforts earned her this week’s NAAA Athlete-of-the-Week award, presented by Northrup Grumman.
Kristen Dickmann Invitational
Navy has played host to at least one regular-season tournament a year each season since 1981. The event was renamed the Kristen Dickmann Invitational in 2010.
Kristen arrived at the USNA for Plebe Summer in late June of 2007. A resident of Kennet Square, Pa., Kristen appeared in 10 matches as a defensive specialist that fall and saw her role grow even larger during the 2008 spring season. A lover of math, Kristen wanted to fly the C-2 Greyhound and be a mail carrier for the Navy because, “everyone likes to get mail.” The only military criticisms she received during her freshman year were for “smiling too much.”
Kristen unexpectedly passed away in Navy’s Bancroft Hall in the spring of 2008.
“The world has lost a little bit of sunshine,” is how teammate Jenny Rudewicz put it after Kristen’s passing.
“It’s an honor for everyone in the volleyball program and family to come together this weekend and pay our respects to Kristen by playing her favorite sport, volleyball,” said Labrador. “Kristen upheld the highest standards in every part of her life at the Academy. She played volleyball with passion, intensity and heart. Our goal for the weekend is to honor her memory by playing the game we love, in front of our families, friends and fans, with a level of passion, intensity and heart that will meet Kristen’s standard and make us all proud to be a part of the Navy Volleyball Program.
“As for the very strong field of teams we have coming in this weekend, Alabama and Villanova are undefeated so far this season and Dartmouth was idle on the first weekend. Alabama plays fast and physical. All of their hitters can terminate the ball and we will need to play smart, aggressive volleyball. Villanova has Sanaa Barnes, a high-flying freshman lefty who was virtually unstoppable against Delaware last weekend, and Emma Decker, a 6-3 junior setter who is a threat to attack at any given moment. Dartmouth was idle last weekend, so we are going in blind. They return a solid core of starters from last season and I expect they will carry the momentum from their strong finish in 2017 into this weekend.
The Crimson Tide posted a 3-0 record on the opening weekend of the season while competing in a tournament at the College of Charleston in Charleston, S.C. Alabama recorded a 3-0 win over Western Kentucky (25-23, 28-26, 25-23), a 3-1 victory over Missouri State (25-21, 22-25, 25-11, 25-16) and a 3-0 triumph over the tournament-host Cougars (25-14, 25-22, 25-23).
Alabama concluded the 2017 season with an overall record of 18-14 and placed 10th in the Southeastern Conference with a 6-12 record. The Crimson Tide were tabbed to place 12th in the SEC this season.
Navy has played three prior matches against SEC teams, including a 2014 loss to Alabama (25-19, 25-22, 22-25, 25-19) in a match played at Virginia. The Mids have also suffered defeats to Auburn in 2000 and South Carolina in 2012. Friday will mark the first time Navy will play host to a team from the SEC.
Dartmouth opens its 2018 campaign this weekend. The Big Green were selected to place seventh in the Ivy League this season after placing sixth in 2017 with a 6-8 record. The league mark was part of an overall record of 10-13.
Saturday’s match between the Mids and the Big Green will be the inaugural pairing of the teams. It also will mean that afterward Navy will have played at least one match against the entire eight-team Ivy League. The Mids have posted a 16-23 overall record against teams from the Ivy league, which includes a 6-17 record for Navy against the conference since the Mids became a Division I program in 1991. The last time Navy played host to an Ivy league team was in 1999 (Brown).
Like Alabama, Villanova tallied a 3-0 record during the first weekend of the 2018 season. The Wildcats defeated La Salle in three sets (25-11, 28-26, 25-21), Morgan State in four sets (23-25, 25-16, 25-16, 25-22) and Delaware in four sets (25-20, 25-18, 20-25, 25-20) to win the Delaware Invite.
Villanova tallied an overall record of 18-12 a year ago and finished in fourth place in the Big East Conference with a record of 11-7. The Wildcats were predicted to again finish in fourth place this season in the conference’s pre-season poll.
Navy and Villanova have squared off on seven previous occasions but not since the 1994 season. The Wildcats won that match as well as six of the seven meetings to date.
Navy last played Big East teams in 2015 when the Mids played both St. John’s and Syracuse. Navy has posted a 3-17 record as a Division I program against Big East teams and an 11-34 record against the conference in school history. The only times Navy has played host to a Big East team since the start of the 21st century were when Providence played on The Yard in 2006 and 2014 and when Seton Hall played in Annapolis in 2001.
Record Book Update
Patrick has tied Alex Cassel (2011-14) for the Navy rally scoring era record (since 2001) for the most blocks in a career. Patrick enters the weekend with 278 total blocks. She and Cassel are also tied for third place in Navy Division I history (since 1991) for career blocks behind the 329 blocks recorded by Megan O’Connell (1997-00) and the record of 358 tallied by Jen Williams (1996-99).
Shearn became the fourth Mid and third during the rally scoring era to snare at least 1,200 career digs when she surpassed the plateau last week (1,223). Rachel Shropa’s (1996-99) total of 1,270 ranks third in school history, with Holly Beger (2008-11) ranking second with 1,405 and Jessie Sims (2005-08) holding the record with 1,424. Shearn additionally has now totaled 70 career matches with at least 10 digs (two this season). She needs one more such match to tie Sims for second in school history. Berger holds the school standard with 77 double-figure dig matches.
Patricia Mattingly (Sr., New Albany, Ind.) needs 41 assists to move into second place in Navy history for the most career assists by a Mid. Already the Navy rally scoring era record holder, her total of 2,888 ranks third at Navy. Mattingly is approaching the second-place total of 2,928 by Nikki St. Clair (1993-96). That would leave just the 3,391 helpers dished out by school record holder Jessica Van Norman (1999-02) for Mattingly to chase. Mattingly also has now posted 38 double-doubles in her career (two this season), which ranks second to Van Norman for the most assists-digs double-doubles by a Mid and ranks fifth at Navy for the most career double-doubles of any kind.
Tuesday vs. George Mason
Navy will be back on the Wesley A. Brown Field House court Tuesday when the Mids play host to George Mason at 7 p.m
-Via Navy Athletics
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