HAMILTON, N.Y. — After the Navy (16-11) volleyball team erased two match points against it and had two match points of its own, Jordan Llewellyn (Jr., Port Deposit, Md.) registered a solo block to give the Mids a five-set victory over Army (18-9), Saturday evening at Cotterell Court in Hamilton, N.Y.  The 25-15, 24-26, 20-25, 25-17, 18-16 win by the third-seeded Mids over the second-seeded Black Knights advances them to the finals of the Patriot League Tournament.  

“Both teams played their hearts out,” said Navy head coach Paco Labrador.  “Army plays an inspired level of team defense that sets the standard in the league.

“We have been playing in tight sets and matches all season long (seven five-set matches, 32 sets decided by just two points) and I think those experiences have paid dividends late in the season.”

Navy will play top-seeded and tournament-host Colgate Sunday at 2 p.m., with a trip to the NCAA Tournament going to the winner.

The Mids will be playing in the championship match for the third time in six years and the fifth time in school history.  Navy was a finalist in 1996, 1999 and 2017 and won the title in 2018.

This is the second year in a row in which the Mids ended the season for the Black Knights.  Last year, Navy defeated Army in four sets in the quarterfinal round.

Additionally, Navy has now rallied from a 2-1 deficit in sets to win four times since the start of the Patriot League season.

Navy and Colgate split their two matches this season, with each team winning in four sets on their home floor.

Set One

Navy took early leads of 5-1 and 11-5 only to see Army close to within three points at 12-9.  An Ashley Warren (Jr., Pennington, N.J.) kill started a run that took the Mids to a 16-9 advantage and a win in the opening frame.

Navy as a team tallied 12 attack errors and a .206 hitting percentage while Army hit .033 on eight kills and seven errors.

Individually, Llewellyn had five kills in the set.

Set Two

It was a three-point Navy lead midway through the second set at 13-10, then it became a 17-11 advantage.  The Mids soon took a 22-17 lead before Army scored the next six points to take a 23-22 lead.  The teams traded kills to take Army to set point with a 24-23 lead.  Warren posted a kill to extend the set, but a Navy attack error and a kill by the Black Knights evened the match at one set each.

Army was the more productive hitting team in set two as it posted a .229 mark (15 kills, 7 errors) and Navy tallied a .108 percentage (12 kills, 8 errors).

Set Three

The score was tied at 9-9 when Army took leads of 12-9 and 16-11.  Navy was able to climb to within three points a few times, including at 20-17, 22-19 and 23-20, but couldn’t make more of a dent into the difference.

Army had the best hitting percentage of either team in the match in the third set as it posted a .310 percentage on 19 kills and six errors.  Navy hit a respectable .225 on 12 kills and three errors.

Set Four

Navy built four-point leads of 14-10, 15-11 and 16-12, but soon found itself in front by just one point at 17-16.  Maggie Bodman (Jr., Northbrook, Ill.) knocked down a kill, then an Army attack error followed by a kill from Llewellyn made the score 20-16 and led to a timeout being called by the Black Knights.  The run continued after the break as another Army hitting error and an ace from Rilee Sherman (Jr., Cibolo, Texas) pushed the lead out to 22-16.  That was enough of a cushion to force a fifth set.

Navy hit .233 in the stanza on nine kills and two attack errors and forced Army into a (-).043 hitting effort on 11 kills and 13 errors.

Set Five

The score was tied at 7-7 when Navy ran off four-straight points to take an 11-7 lead.  Army responded by scoring the next six points to jump in front, 13-11.  Labrador called his second and final timeout at that point.  Jamie Llewellyn (Jr., Port Deposit, Md.) posted a kill to make the score 13-12, then an Army kill took the Black Knights to match point with a 14-12 lead.  Jamie Llewellyn registered her fifth kill of the set to stave off one match point, then an Army hitting error tied the score at 14-14.

Jamie Llewellyn remained at the service line and she tallied an ace to give Navy its first chance to serve for the match.  Army’s Allanah Cutler extended the match with a kill, but Jordan Llewellyn followed with a kill of her own to make the score 16-15 in favor of the Mids.  Back came Army with a kill by Paige Fixemer to tie the score for the eighth time in the set, 16-16.

Anna Klemeyer (Jr., Sarasota, Fla.) posted a kill to give the Mids a 17-16 lead.  On the ensuing point, Jordan Llewellyn would have a swing to win the match, but Army passed the ball from the back row to setter Diana Etheridge in the front row.  She tried to dump the ball over the net but Jordan Llewellyn, who had just raced to the front row after her attempt, was there to bat the ball down to the floor on the Army side of the court to end the two-hour and 21-minute match.

Statistical Summary

There were over 200 serves and a combined 350 attacks in the match.  Blocking proved to be the difference in the match as the Mids recorded 17 blocks and the Black Knights accrued just six.  That allowed Navy to force Army into 15 more attack errors than it recorded (37-22).

Jordan Llewellyn totaled 16 kills and seven blocks, Jamie Llewellyn had 15 kills and 17 digs, Bodman had 11 kills, Klemeyer had nine kills and 11 blocks, Hannah Hoover (Jr., Katy, Texas) grabbed 16 digs and Averi Miller (Jr., Phoenix, Ariz.) dished out 48 assists and snared 13 digs.

“Every player on the team contributed tonight,” said Labrador, “on the floor and off.  It was a total team effort.”

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