Courtesy: Patriot League
WASHINGTON, D.C. – No. 2 Navy defeated No. 1 American in a five-set thriller to claim its first-ever Patriot League Women’s Volleyball Championship, on Sunday at Bender Arena. Sophomore outside hitter Maddi Sgattoni was named the tournament most valuable player (MVP) after tallying 25 kills, while hitting .281, to go with seven digs and three service aces.
Navy earns the Patriot League’s automatic berth to the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championships. They will learn their opening round destination during the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Selection Show on Sunday, November 25 at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN or WatchESPN.com.
🏐 The Mids are on top of the mountain! The #2 seeded @NavyVolleyball beat the #1 seeded American in 5 sets to become @PatriotLeague Volleyball champions 🏆. @WatchStadium @NCAAVolleyball pic.twitter.com/olUsiTWuss
— Patriot League Network | PatriotLeague.tv (@PatriotLeagueTV) November 18, 2018
NO. 2 NAVY MIDSHIPMEN (23-8, 13-3 PL) 3, AT NO. 1 AMERICAN EAGLES (20-13, 13-3 PL) 2, (25-22, 19-25, 25-21, 25-27, 15-9)
Bender Arena/Washington, D.C. / 2 p.m. ET (PLN/Stadium)
*The Navy Midshipmen made history on Sunday, capturing their first Patriot League Championship with a 3-2 win over top-seed American.
*Navy ended the fifth set on a 7-3 run, with three kills from tournament MVP Maddi Sgattoni.
* Navy senior setter Patricia Mattingly directed the Mids’ offense with 49 assists, while hitting .462 with six kills. She also had 17 digs and four block assists.
*Navy senior defensive specialist/libero Sydney Shearn contributed 30 digs, followed by junior defensive specialist Emily Solis, who notched 15 digs.
* American senior outside hitter Aleksandra Kazala led the Eagles in both digs and kills, 26 and 13, respectively.
*Sophomore middle blocker Vela McBride finished the match with 12 kills and a .290 hitting percentage, while junior libero Kristen Largay tallied 17 digs.
2018 Patriot League All-Tournament Team
Maddi Sgattoni, Navy, So., OH – MVP
Patricia Mattingly, Navy, Sr., S
Sydney Shearn, Navy, Sr., DS/L
Helena Elbaek, American, So., OH
Vela McBride, American, So., MB
Katie Stansbury, Colgate, Sr. OH
Alisah Cash, Loyola Maryland, Sr., MB
Courtesy: Navy Athletics
WASHINGTON, D.C. –– Maddi Sgattoni’s (So., Pittsburgh, Pa.) 25th kill of the night, 391st of the season and 697th of her career will go down as the most historic point recorded in Navy volleyball history as it closed out a five-set win for the Mids over American in the championship match of the Patriot League Tournament Sunday afternoon at Bender Arena in Washington, D.C. The Mids (23-8), who shared the regular season title with the Eagles (20-13), earned the program’s first berth into the NCAA Tournament with a 25-22, 19-25, 25-21, 25-27, 15-9 victory.
History Made as Navy Volleyball is NCAA Tournament Bound https://t.co/mPOJzAtWUt
— Navy Athletics (@NavyAthletics) November 19, 2018
The NCAA Tournament Selection Show will air on Sunday, Nov. 25, at 8:30 p.m. EST on ESPNU. The first and second rounds will be held Nov. 28-Dec. 1.
American entered the day with a 31-0 record on its home floor in the league tournament and had won the event in each of the 15 previous times it had served as the tournament host over its 17-year membership in the league. In contrast, Navy was making its fourth championship match appearance (1996, 1999, 2017, 2018), had never won the tournament in its 27 years in the Patriot League and was 0-4 against the Eagles in the event.
Navy’s Class of 2019 –– Taylor Holland (Auburn, Ala.), Kelsey Kingsland (Blackwell, Mo.), Patricia Mattingly (New Albany, Ind.), Darby Minton (Chino Hills, Calif.), Katie Patrick (Aurora, Colo.) and Sydney Shearn (Louisville, Ky.) –– began their careers by being thrust onto the court early during the 2015 season as freshmen. The expected growing pains from such a youthful squad included the Mids starting the season with a 2-19 record and suffering losses in each of their first six Patriot League contests. Four of those six league defeats came in five sets. However, Navy would end the year by winning seven of its last 10 matches, and the Mids were off and running after that. Navy compiled a 20-9 overall record in 2016 and placed fourth in the Patriot League with a 10-6 record to earn a spot in the league tournament, where it lost to American in the semifinal round. The Mids took another step forward in 2017 as they tied a school Division I record for wins with a 23-8 mark, placed second in the league’s regular season with a 12-4 record, defeated American for the first time since 1989 and became the first Navy team to advance to the championship match of the league tournament in 18 years. The Eagles defeated the Mids in last year’s tournament final.
This year, Navy again tied the school record for wins with another 23-8 record, shared the league regular season title (with American) for the first time since 1999 with a 13-3 record and will now make its first trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Since that 2-19, 0-6 start, Navy has posted an overall record of 73-28 (72.3%) and a league regular season record of 42-16 (72.4%). Fittingly, today’s victory allowed the class to become the winningest in Navy Division I history as it has now tallied 75 wins to better the previous standard of 74 set by the Class of 2008.
“This win is a culmination of many years of hard work,” said Navy head coach Paco Labrador. “This group of seniors made the tournament as sophomores and reached the finals as juniors. It was clear from day one this year that these seniors were ready to win a championship this season.
“We are excited for the selection show and for the opportunity to spend more time together in our Navy volleyball family.”
Sgattoni (7 digs and 3 aces to go along with her career-high 25 kills) was selected as the MVP of the tournament, and she was joined on the all-tournament team by Mattingly (49 assists, 17 digs, 6 kills, and 4 blocks today) and Shearn (30 digs this afternoon).
“Maddi is our rock,” said Labrador. “She was served on almost every play, she took 64 swings and still had the endurance to take the biggest swing in Navy volleyball history and score championship point. She carried us to the win.”
“It was one of the best moments I have ever had,” said Sgattoni as she relayed her emotions after her last kill hit the floor. “It was so surreal. We just went crazy. It was exactly how I pictured it and more.”
“My first thought was how happy I was for the entire team,” said Mattingly on championship point. “Then I thought back to when we were recruits. We came on one of our official visits. As seniors (in high school), we all promised each other that we were going to get a championship in our time her. We were going to get one. And that brought me to tears. We made that promise to ourselves, we made that promise to our class. I am really happy we did that for all of the ones who went before us, the girls that graduated last year and the years prior. I am just so happy for them.”
“Trish did it all,” said Labrador. She blocked, served, dug, set, attacked and, most importantly, led the team,” said Labrador. “She makes so many athletic plays when we need her the most.”
“It was a relief,” said Shearn. “I am so happy and so excited that we finally got there. Whenever you reach a goal there is that excitement, but there also is a relief that we finished it out. That was our goal when we came here four years ago, since we committed six years ago. It is huge. Our whole team worked so hard this season.”
“Syd was the perfect balance of steady, poised play and highlight film level big-time plays to go along with firing up the team between points,” said Labrador.
As for the match itself, Navy showed no signs of nerves as it went on a 6-0 run to take a 6-1 advantage at the start of the first set. American would tie the frame at 13-13, but a Sgattoni kill followed by back-to-back aces from Minton gave Navy a 16-13 lead. Back came the Eagles and soon the Mids led by just one point at 17-16. Kingsland knocked down back-to-back kills and then an American hitting error extended Navy’s lead out to 20-16. American chipped away at the margin and soon closed to within two points at 23-21. A kill by Patrick took the Mids to set point, which the Eagles erased on a kill, but then Sgattoni posted a kill to end the first set.
The teams had evenly split the first 20 points of set two, but American promptly went on a 5-0 run to build a little breathing room. Navy was able to cut the margin down to two points at 19-17, 20-18 and 21-19, but could not pull any closer.
Just as in set one, Navy had a good start to set three as it took a 6-2 lead. The Mids held the advantage until a 4-0 run gave American a 16-14 lead. The score would be tied at 18-18, 19-19, 20-20 and 21-21. Kingsland posted a kill to break the eighth tie of the set, then an attack error by the Eagles gave the Mids a 23-21 lead. Sgattoni dropped in an ace to take Navy to set point, which it converted when Mattingly and Sarena Seelbach (Jr., Chapel Hill, N.C.) combined for a block.
Set four turned into a slugfest between two heavyweight fighters. The score would be tied 20 times and the lead would change hands nine times.
American held a 21-20 lead when a Sgattoni kill followed by a Sgattoni ace gave Navy a 22-21 lead. An attack error by the Eagles pushed the Mids out to a 23-21 advantage, then a Kingsland kill made the score 24-21 –– the largest lead for either team in the set –– and gave Navy three championship points.
Sgattoni committed a service error, then American won a very lengthy ensuing point on a block to cut the Navy lead down to 24-23. It soon became 24-24 when the Eagles registered another block, then Navy had to fight to keep the set alive after a hitting error by the Mids gave the home team a 25-24 lead. Kingsland answered with a kill to tie the score, but back-to-back kills gave American the fourth set.
It was the sixth time the Patriot League final would be extended to a fifth set (1993, 1997, 1999, 2005, 2012).
Navy’s 2017 win over American was a signature moment for the program. But another match from last year that can’t be overlooked in its importance to the success of this year’s team was the regular season finale against Army. The Mids had lost to the Black Knights in five sets earlier in the year, and had lost five-straight five-set decisions that season entering that match. Navy lost the fourth set to Army that day, and the Mids found themselves trailing the Black Knights 11-9 in the fifth set. Navy scored three-straight points to take a 12-11 lead then, after Army tied the score, the Mids went on another 3-0 run to win the match.
Six days later, Navy swept Army in the semifinal round of the league tournament to advance to the finals and catapulted the Mids to another level this year.
Navy entered today’s match with a 4-1 record this year in five-set contests.
“That was not us,” said Shearn on what was said after the fourth set. “We don’t give up leads like that at the end of a game, we don’t play high stressed, we don’t change our game on point 24. And then we went out and proved that. We did not give in, we did not let up.”
The Mids scored the first two points of the fifth set today and jumped out to a 6-1 advantage. The Eagles winnowed the difference down to two points at 6-4, 7-5 and 8-6, then a service error gave Navy a 9-6 lead. Patrick and Avery Stowell (Fr., Yorba Linda, Calif.), who had registered the first kill of the set, teamed up for a block to make the score 10-6. Navy’s lead would be three points at both 10-7 and 11-8, then another service error by the Eagles made it a 12-8 lead for the Mids. Sgattoni staked the Mids to a 13-8 lead on a kill, then an American attack error gave Navy a 14-8 lead.
History had to wait for a few more minutes when American tallied a kill.
American’s Jeanne Westney dropped back to serve the next point. She served to the middle back of the Navy defense where Shearn was placed. Shearn passed the ball to Mattingly –– for an impossible to count how many times going back to their being teammates on the club volleyball level –– in the middle front of the court. Mattingly, the three-time league setter of the year, dealt the ball to Sgattoni on the left wing. From there, Sgattoni, a first-team all-league performer this year, did the rest by blasting it over the net, off the hands of a blocker and to the ground at 4:32 p.m. EST.
Navy led American in kills (63-53), hitting percentage (.148-.138), aces (9-4) and digs (90-81), with the Eagles outblocking the Mids, 16-8.
Kingsland joined Sgattoni in registering double figure kills with 13. Shearn, the 2016 league libero of the year, set a league tournament record by totaling 51 digs in the two matches (old record was 47). Emily Solis (Jr., Leesburg, Va.) aided Navy’s defense with 15 digs, as did Patrick with five blocks and Seelbach with three blocks.
Courtesy: American Athletics
WASHINGTON– Aleksandra Kazala led four Eagles with double figures in kills, but Navy won its first-ever Patriot League volleyball championship with a five-set victory over host American University in Sunday’s final of the Patriot League Tournament.
The Eagles ended their season with a 20-13 mark overall, while the Midshipmen will carry a 23-8 record into the NCAA Tournament.
Navy won the opening set 25-22, but AU tied the match with a 25-19 win in the second. Navy put AU on the brink with a 25-21 win in the third set, but the Eagles escaped three match points in the fourth set to take a 27-25 win.
The Mids closed out the win with a 15-9 victory in the final set.
• Kazala finished with 13 kills and a career-high 26 digs. It was her 13th double-double of the season.
• Vela McBride had 12 kills and four blocks for the Eagles, with Helena Elbaek adding 11 kills.
• Loren McKenzie had 10 kills and 10 blocks for American, posting the first double-double of her career.
• Kennedy Etheridge finished with 43 assists and 14 digs, while libero Kristen Largay had 17 digs.
• McBride and Elbaek represented AU on the All-Tournament Team.
• The Eagles finished with 16 blocks in the match and 81 digs in a defensive battle. Navy ended up hitting .148, with AU posting a .138 percentage. The teams combined for 171 digs and 24 blocks.
• Tournament MVP Maddi Sgattoni finished with 25 kills for Navy, which also got 13 from Kelsey Kingsland. Libero Sydney Shearn had 30 digs to lead three Mids in double figures, and PL Setter of the Year Patricia Mattingly had 49 assists and 17 digs.