Nov. 20, 2010

Courtesy of Clarion

EDINBORO
- Junior outside hitter Kellie Bartman tied a school-rally-scoring-era record with 28 kills to lift the Clarion University womens volleyball team into the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history with a 3-1 win over Wheeling Jesuit Saturday evening at Edinboros McComb Fieldhouse.

Kellie had a great match,” Clarions fourth-year head coach Jennifer Harrison said. Shes taken a lot of swings this year, and I know she is tired. She fought through and was fantastic.”

Clarion will face the winner of the second semifinal match between Edinboro at California in the Regional Championship match at 3 p.m. Sunday at Edinboro.

The win improves the Golden Eagles to 31-4 on the season tying the 2002 team for the school record in wins, and Clarion become the first team to reach the Sweet 16 in any sport at the school since the 1996 football team reached the Final Four and just the seventh team in school history to advance to the NCAA Division II Sweet 16,

Overall, as a team, we did a nice job tonight,” Harrison said. Everyone contributed. More than anything, Im proud of them. Im proud of the work theyve done. They are playing with so much more confidence. They are playing with a goal, they are playing with an expectation and they are playing with school pride, which I think is awesome. They are doing some amazing things to represent the school.”

Clarion, which avenged a home 3-1 loss to Wheeling Jesuit earlier in the season, came out flying scoring the first five points of the match while taking an early 7-1 lead and never trailed in the first set winning it 25-21.

I think the girls came in much more prepared to what to expect from Wheeling this time,” Harrison said. Wheeling is a good ball-control team and its tough to defend them because of the speed of their offense.

It was huge for us to come out strong. It helped us settle in.”

Bartman led the charge in the first set with seven kills and then added seven more kills in the second set, also won by Clarion 25-23.

Wheeling Jesuit (33-5), though, fought back in the third set and took it 25-16 to cut Clarions lead to 2-1.

I was worried after the third set,” Harrison said. We let our guard down a little bit, and you cant do that against a good team like Wheeling that is really well coached. But I was happy with the way we responded in the fourth set. We made a few mistakes that kept it closer than I would have liked, but we were able to pull out the win.”

Bartman came up big in the fourth set with 10 kills helping the Golden Eagles take the set and the match 25-22.

With nine digs, Bartman, the PSAC-West Athlete of the Year, just missed a double-double but she also hit .455 (28 kills, 3 errors, 55 attempts) for the match.

Hannah Heeter added 10 kills and a .269 hitting percentage (10-3-26) for the night with Rebecca Webb chipping in nine kills, six blocks and three digs while hitting .348 (9-1-23). Kaitlyn Anderson added eight kills and eight digs.

Amanda Gough set up the offense with a career-high 54 set assists, the most set assists in a four-set match by a Clarion setter since Kristi Fiorillo had 54 vs. Lock Haven in 2007 (Fiorillo also had 60 and 61 in four-set matches that season). Gough completed a double-double with 13 digs and also had six blocks and two kills.

Rhianon Brady paced the defense with 28 digs with Kayla Rodak chipping in 10.