WASHINGTON – American University plays host to a crucial volleyball matchup on Friday night when the Eagles welcome Navy to Bender Arena at 7 p.m.
The Eagles and Midshipmen are first and second in the Patriot League standings coming into the match. Navy handed AU its only league loss of the season thus far and could gain most of the potential tiebreaker advantages over the Eagles by completing a season sweep.
American is now 17-7 and 8-1 in the PL after having won nine straight matches and 11 of its last 12 matches.
The only Eagles' loss in that stretch came in a four-set marathon in Annapolis on Sept. 26, won by Navy, 27-29, 25-27, 25-23, 20-25.
In that match, the teams combined for 415 attacks, with American's 213 and Navy's 212 ranking first and second in NCAA Division I for the most nationally in a four-set match. AU sophomore libero Kristen Largay had 40 digs in that match, the most by an Eagle student-athlete since joining the Patriot League in 2001.
The Eagles are led offensively by junior outside Aleksandra Kazala, who is sixth nationally with a 4.80 kills-per-set average. Her 389 total kills are second in the nation behind only Pilar Victoria of Arkansas, who has 425. Kazala's leads the Patriot League in that category by more than one kill per set.
During the nine-match winning streak, the Eagles have posted a .331 hitting percentage and now have three players among the leaders in the Patriot League. Sophomore Vela McBride hits .374, junior Cheyenne Orsi is at .359 and Kazala hits at a .295 percentage.
Defensively, the Eagles are led by Largay, who is third in the league with 4.55 digs per set, and Orsi, who is also third in the league at 1.06 blocks per set.
Navy is now 7-1 in the league and 17-4 overall. The Midshipmen lost a tough, five-set match at Army West Point last Saturday to fall out of first place in the league and suffer their first PL defeat. Navy came into the Star matchup on an eight-match winning streak.
Senior Tara Dotzauer leads the Navy offense at 2.93 kills per set (seventh in the PL), with senior Maggie Phillips at 2.72 (10th in the PL). Phillips had a team-high 19 kills in the previous match with AU.
Junior Patricia Mattingly is the reigning PL Setter of the Year and is second in the PL with a 9.23 assists average. Junior middle Katie Patrick (1.24 blocks per set) and junior libero Sydney Shearn (5.37 digs per set) are also second in the league in those categories.
Tickets to all AU home volleyball matches are available at the Bender Arena Box Office. General admission seats are $8 for adults and $5 for children. AU students are admitted free with a valid student ID.
TIME TO DRESS LIKE AN EAGLE: AU Athletics Hosts Yard Sale Saturday at 10 a.m.
Those attending this Saturday's basketball "Chalk Talk" and open practice, field hockey, and men's soccer games or the myriad of All-American Weekend festivities on campus will have the chance to dress like an Eagle at the Athletic Department Yard Sale.
Stop by the Bender Arena lobby from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. as the Department of Athletics invites everyone to a sale of AU athletics apparel. This includes game-worn uniforms, warmups, jackets, practice gear and sneakers, as well as some unused apparel.
The sale is CASH ONLY and items will be priced from $5 - $40. Proceeds will benefit the AU Department of Athletics & Recreation.
Hope to see everyone this Saturday.