Nov. 12, 2009

Courtesy of Clarkson

Medford, MA – Any time a team is making its first NCAA appearance, the squad is likely to have an assortment of emotions and attitudes throughout the game or match. The Clarkson University Volleyball team wasn’t any different in its first NCAA match in the program’s history, wavering back and forth between the jitters, swaggering confidence, anxiety, jubilation, and disappointment. The Golden Knights first NCAA match in the sport of volleyball saw Clarkson come up short in four-sets against Wellesley, 25-16, 25-14, 23-25, 25-19 at Tufts University’s Cousens Gymnasium.

The Golden Knights finished their season with a record of 28-7 overall, an .800 winning percentage that ranks as the best in school history. Wellesley improved to 24-10 and will play at 7:00 pm tomorrow night.

Clarkson struggled to find a groove early, as their lack of effective communication in the passing game couldn’t get setter Jenna Stock (Johnstown, NY) in optimum position. The Knights found themselves behind early in each of the first two sets as Wellesley used a variety of kill shots to keep the Clarkson defense guessing.

In the third set with elimination the only option remaining, the Golden Knights played the kind of loose, yet focused, volleyball that they have played all season long and jumped out to a quick lead. Wellesley battled back and took a 17-15 lead midway through the set. However, renewed focus after a timeout helped Clarkson run off four straight points for a two-point advantage, a lead they would not relinquish for the remainder of the set.

Unfortunately for Knights, the fourth set was a return to form of the first two as Clarkson couldn’t get its passing game in sync and fell behind by close to double-digits early on. Wellesley’s blocking game proved a difficult obstacle to overcome. Numerous times, the Knights hitters either couldn’t get the ball over the block or would hit the ball too far in an effort to get beyond it. Despite a late rally in the final set that saw the Knights pull to within striking distance near the conclusion of the match, Clarkson fell short by six points.

Freshman Courtney Haines (Crestview, FL) was Clarkson's top hitter with 12 kills overall as her assortment of shots proved valuable against Wellesley. Sara Artus (St. Regis Falls, NY) had eight kills and MacKenzie Cook (Syracuse, NY) produced six kills against just one error in 17 swings. Stock had 30 assists and 18 digs to go along with five kills an no errors in 25 swings. Junior libero Alison Schroeder (Webster, NY) finished with 24 digs.