WEST POINT, N.Y. – In the 2012 season opener for the Quinnipiac women's volleyball squad, the Bobcats fell at the hands of Army, 3-0, at the West Point Invitational. The Black Knights (1-0) took the first set, 25-16, before dispatching Quinnipiac (0-1), 25-11 and 25-15 in the second and third sets. Junior setter Ashley Kopacki (Hackettstown, N.J.) led the Bobcats with 16 assists and sophomore outside hitter Brittanie Robinson (Fresno, Calif.) recorded a team-high six kills on the afternoon.
Junior libero Logan Riker (Bowling Green, Ohio), playing in her first match since Sep. 16, 2011 due to an injury last season, tallied the first point and first service ace of the season as the Bobcats took an early 1-0 lead. The Black Knights then took control as they began an 8-2 run that resulted in the first Quinnipiac timeout. The Army lead stretched to 18-10 before Quinnipiac reeled off a 4-0 run highlighted by an Olivia Grattan (Pittsburgh, Pa.) kill and a combination block from senior Taylor Payne (Warwick, N.Y.) and sophomore Tanner Celestin (Norco, Calif.). With the deficit down to four, the 2012 Patriot League finalist Army then seized control of the first set and carried the momentum to a 25-16 victory.
The Black Knights, predicted to finish 2nd in the Patriot League in 2012, took command of the second set early, jumping out to 8-2 lead before the Bobcats settled in and exchanged points to bring the score to 14-8. Freshman outside hitter Chandler Thornton (Arlington, Texas) recorded her first career kill early in the set before Kopacki and Robinson teamed up for a pair of kills as the Bobcats fought to keep the score close against the host team. Thornton would finish the set with three kills for Quinnipiac as Army claimed a 25-11 victory.
Quinnipiac jumped out to a 3-0 lead early in the third set, behind a Grattan and Celestin combination block and a pair of kills from Celestin and Grattan. Celestin would chip in with another kill as Quinnipiac maintained a three-point lead at 5-2 and would hold the advantage through 8-7. With the score deadlocked at 11 in the third, Army went on a 14-4 run including a 5-0 stretch to take a 16-11 lead before closing out the match with a score of 25-15.
Riker finished the match with 12 digs while Robinson chipped in with 10 for the Bobcats. Ariana Mankus and Megan Wilton led Army with 11 kills apiece, Mary Vaccaro posted the game's only double double with 33 assists and 16 digs, while D.J. Phee added 13 digs and four service aces.
The Bobcats continue play at the West Point Invitational Saturday, where they face Stony Brook at 11:00 a.m. and follow with Indiana at 4:00 p.m.
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