By Josh Paunil
Eagle Staff Writer
Facing a 2-0 deficit against Navy and the prospect of falling three games out of first place in the Patriot League standings, the AU volleyball team rallied back to win three straight sets Oct. 5 in Bender Arena.
“We played two close games, and we just made too many unforced errors in the first couple [of] games,” AU head coach Barry Goldberg said. “When we played game three, we kept saying ‘play it like it’s game one.’ We came right out, got a little bit of rhythm, started running it and controlling more of the rallies.”
The Eagles (11-7, 3-2 PL) got off to a quick start in the first game, scoring six of the first seven points. Morgan Hendrix, who recorded two service aces in the stretch, hit a match-best .417 on the night.
AU continued to hold a multipoint lead over Navy (7-10, 3-2 PL) during the early part of the first game, but Navy used a 4-0 run in the middle to take a 17-16 advantage for its first lead of the match. The teams continued to trade points until the Midshipmen scored three straight to take the first set, 25-23.
The second set featured a familiar feeling for the Eagles, when they again got off to a quick lead that they later gave up. They traded points for the remainder of a set that ended in another 25-23 Navy victory.
Following the halftime break, AU came out firing on all cylinders to take an early lead that they sustained for the whole third set.
Rebecca Heath posted seven of her season-high 17 kills in the game, which the Eagles won, 25-14.
“The first set we got less kills, the second one we got more kills and still lost, but the third, fourth and fifth set just felt completely different,” Hendrix said. “You felt like everyone was there for you and had your back.”
Heath recorded one of two double-doubles in the match, tallying 11 digs along with her 17 kills.
“I think Rebecca has been a pretty big deal for us,” Goldberg said. “She’s got a pretty decent handle, hits bright spots and her leadership has been paying off.”
Setter Kylann Scheidt posted the other double-double, chalking up 39 assists and 14 digs.
Juliana Crum helped carry the baton in the fourth set, as she recorded two of her nine kills in the match and two service aces to lead AU to a 25-21 set win.
The Eagles completed their comeback in the fifth set, winning 15-7. They hit a match-best .571 when it mattered most and recorded no errors.
“It felt really good to know we could be down two games and have it in us to come back, even though we haven’t been able to come back in a few other games,” Hendrix said.
AU now begins a five-match road trip beginning Oct. 12 at Bucknell.