It’s been a couple weeks since I caught everyone up on what’s been happening with our season long inter-service academy Ike Award contest. ICYMI, the Ike Award will be given to the service academy with the highest winning percentage at the end of the athletic season against the other two academies. Army and Navy have had their Star Series for years, and Air Force has continually felt left out, so this was our way of showing the Falcons some love and giving everyone a better look at who is the most successful each year among the three schools.
Since we last left off with Navy’s furious rally and comeback against Air Force Waterpolo, we’ve had two contests, including the first Star Series competition of the year.
Navy vs Air Force Women’s Volleyball (Sept. 15 at Air Force):
This was a terrific match between the Mids and Falcons in Colorado Springs. Navy travelled out West for a weekend of competition that included the match against Air Force. Before facing Air Force on Saturday, they defeated UMES in 4 sets before losing in straight sets to a very talented Denver team.
Air Force also had a pair of matches the night before, also defeating UMES (though in straight sets) and following that up with a four set win against Samford.
Air Force would take the first two sets of the contest against Navy, winning each one 25-21 after pulling away late.
Navy was now forced to win three straight sets in order to comeback.
The third set went to Navy as they never trailed, finally finishing the Falcons off 25-19. Following this, the Mids won a tight fourth set 25-22 that saw the score tied at 21 before a Navy timeout paved the way for them to force Air Force into a service error and attack error on the ensuing possessions.
The fifth and deciding set started out back and forth, but eventually Navy would pull away, completing their furious rally and winning the match three sets to two.
It was the first time Navy has come back to win three straight sets on the road since 2005 against Delaware State.
Katie Patrick, a senior from Colorado who was making the trip back home, garnered Patriot League Player of the Week honors for her play out West.
The environment was one both teams probably won’t soon forget, as over 1300 fans packed the East Gym for the largest crowd ever in the gym and the second largest crowd ever for an Air Force volleyball match.
THANK YOU to our fans who helped make history during Saturday’s match against Navy!— Air Force Volleyball (@AF_Volleyball) September 17, 2018
Highest attended match in the history of East Gym
Second-highest attended match in the Division I history of Air Force Volleyball pic.twitter.com/s2B0humd3K
Army vs Navy Sprint Football (Sept. 21 at USNA):
The annual Sprint Football showdown between Army and Navy usually goes on to decide who is the CSFL champion for the season. This was the first Star Series match of the season between the two schools, and it lived up to its billing.
A defensive battle for most of the night, no one was able to crack the scoreboard in the first half. Army got all the way down to the 16 yard line on its opening drive of the game, but a blocked FG by CSFL Defensive Player of the Week Dean Rye kept it scoreless.
Just before the end of the first half, Navy also had a FG blocked and so the two teams went to intermission tied 0-0.
The Mids finally broke the scoring open on an 81 yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter, but Army would answer right back, with a 35 yard TD pass of their own from Keegan West to Tom Williamson to tie the game at 7. West would win CSFL Offensive Player of the Week honors for his effort.
Navy would regain the lead, following a gutsy fake punt on 4th and 10 that was successful and a 6 yard TD run by QB Walt Fagan. Army would once again answer right back as the West-Williamson combination found its way to the endzone for the second time on a 21 yard touchdown pass, tying the game at 14.
With just under five minutes remaining in the game, Army would pull ahead for good, hitting a 17 yard field goal to give them a 17-14 lead, which would be the final score. Army now leads the USAA Star Series 1-0 on the year and also earned their first Ike Award victory on the season as well.
Ike Award Standings:
Following the Navy Volleyball and Army Sprint Football victories, here’s a look at our updated Ike Award standings on the year:
Air Force: 1-2-1 (37.5% winning percentage)
Army: 1-0-1 (75% winning percentage)
Navy: 2-2 (50% winning percentage)
We have two contests this weekend as Air Force Men’s Tennis travels to Annapolis on Friday and the second Star Series match of the year takes place in West Point between the Men’s Golf teams of Army and Navy.
The Air Force Men’s tennis team comes into the Joe Hunt Invite having one several flights in hosting the Air Force invite in their only competition on the season. The Navy Men’s team is coming off a Patriot League championship last year and have had competitors in the Oracle ITA Masters and Milwaukee Tennis Classic so far.
The Navy Men’s Golf team’s only competition was at the Doc Gimmler, where they finished 7th out of 14 teams and were paced by sophomore Charlie Musto, last year’s Patriot League Player of the Year. Army Men’s Golf comes into the weekend having finished 13th at the Alex Lagowitz Tournament and 16th at the Windon Memorial Classic.
Is this match a big deal? Don’t just take our word for it. Navy alum and PGA Tour player Billy Hurley III says that the Ryder Cup is great and all, but he knows there’s some other pretty important golf taking place this weekend as well!