American Downs Navy in Four Sets

Allison Cappellino
Allison Cappellino

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Junior Allison Cappellino registered a match-high 17 kills to lead the American University volleyball team past Navy, 23-25, 25-18, 25-17, 25-8, on Wednesday evening.

The Eagles, who have lost just four sets in Patriot League play this season, improved to 21-5 overall and a perfect 12-0 in conference action. Meanwhile, the Midshipmen dropped to 11-11 overall and 8-5 in the Patriot League.

Senior Kelly McCaddin, who posted a .588 attack percentage, registered 11 kills for the Eagles, while Cappellino added 12 digs to become just the fifth player in program history to reach 1,000 career digs. Senior libero Megan Rosburg also had a strong performance for AU, recording a season-high 20 digs, while senior setter Monika Smidova posted her 16th double-double of the year with 43 assists and 10 digs.

In a close opening set, Navy pushed ahead to a three-point lead at 16-13 and again at 19-6, but both times, the Eagles were able to come back to tie the score. American managed to take the lead at 21-20, but Navy responded with four straight points before holding on for the two-point win. The Mids registered six total blocks in the set, as AU was held to a .077 hitting percentage.

American regrouped in the second set, using a 10-0 run with Smidova at the service line to take control. While Navy battled back, getting as close as six points, the Eagles were able to hold on for the 25-18 set victory. Cappellino led AU in the set with five kills, while freshman Erin Swartz recorded four of her match-high seven blocks.

While AU led for much of the third set, the score remained close throughout. The Eagles held a narrow 18-17 advantage, but closed out the set with seven unanswered points to take a 2-1 lead in the match. McCaddin led American with five kills on eight attempts, as the Eagles' hitting continued to improve.

Smidova again helped AU pull away in the fourth set, breaking a 6-6 tie with a 13-0 service run. Navy was only able to come up with two more points, as the Eagles rolled to a 25-8 win. The Eagles, led by four kills from Cappellino, hit a match-high .481 in the fourth set, while holding the Mids to a negative attack percentage.

"We battled Navy well early in the first set, but ended up making a few costly errors as Navy's block ended up being the difference late in the set," said American head coach Barry Goldberg. "From there we rebounded well, as our serve and attack began to take control. The final outcome was a hard-fought victory on the road.

"We are looking forward to continuing our improvement in our final two weekends of Patriot League play. Ultimately, our hopes are to compete for another championship and to have an appearance in the NCAA tournament in December."

American closes out its regular-season home slate this weekend with a pair of Patriot League matches, hosting Holy Cross Friday at 7 p.m., before facing Army on Saturday at 4 p.m.