WASHINGTON – Closing out the first half of its Patriot League slate, the American University volleyball team earned a 25-22, 25-16, 25-12 victory over Navy Friday evening in Bender Arena.
The Eagles, who have won 13 straight matches, improved to 17-4 overall and 8-0 in the Patriot League, while the Midshipmen dropped to 7-9 on the year and 4-3 in the league.
Junior Allison Cappellino led the Eagles with 10 kills and 10 digs, while senior Kelly McCaddin recorded eight kills, eight total blocks and an attack percentage of .471. Senior setter Monika Smidova added her 12th double-double of the year, finishing with 25 assists and a team-high 12 digs.
American, which has swept seven of its eight conference opponents this season, had a battle on its hands early in the match. The Eagles and Mids had nine ties and two lead changes to start the opening set, but AU put together a run to break a 10-10 tie. However, Navy fought back, closing within two points before Cappellino put down a kill to win the set.
The Eagles hit just .022 in the opening set, but made up for it with strong service, recording four aces.
In the second set, AU was able to stay just a step ahead for most of the set. While the score was tied at 7-7, the Eagles were able to gradually pull away, hitting .343 in the set.
Navy led early in the third set, but a strong service run by junior Sarah Katz helped American maintain control. Paced by four kills from both McCaddin and classmate Kristyna Lindovska, AU outscored the Mids 14-5 to finish the set.
"We were lackluster to start the match here—played real loose, not firm and patient," said American head coach Barry Goldberg. "We tried to hurry balls, we hit some balls out of bounds. [But] we started to hit the ball better as time went on.
"If it wasn't for the serving in game one, we may not have beaten them in that game, because they hit better than we did. We talked about the serve prior to the game. We're becoming one of the better serving teams in the country. Serving has been a big part of our success to this point, but we've got to keep improving."
The Eagles are back in action on Wednesday, when they open host Patriot League foe Loyola Maryland in a 7 p.m. contest.