Lock Haven beats rival Clarion
Xuan leads in kills in five-setter, wins PSAC conference award
CALIFORNIA, Pa. – For the second time in three matches, Lock Haven (21-9) needed five sets to take down rival Clarion (19-13), but the Lady Eagles did just that and edged CU 3-2 (25-20, 21-25, 25-21, 22-25 & 15-5) Thursday in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Lock Haven and Clarion met in last Friday's Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) semifinals and the two teams thrilled a Thomas Fieldhouse crowd to a dramatic five-set match. Down 2-0, LHU came back to take down Clarion 3-2.
LHU led 2-1 today, but much like the Lady Eagles last week, the Clarion Golden Eagles would not go away as they two teams were dead even all over the court.
The Lady Eagles however put things away with a 15-5 win in the fifth and final set of today's Atlantic Regional first-round match.
LHU hit a red-hot .545 with eight kills in the fifth set. The Lady Eagles held Clarion to zero kills and a negative .375 hitting percentage in the decisive fifth set.
Gao Xuan led four players in double-digit kills.
Xuan, who earned her third consecutive PSAC East Player of the Year award Friday, knocked down a match-high 17 kills.
All-PSAC selections Bailey Farthing and Haley Gribler added 15 and 13 kills, while Grace Novacek knocked down 11.
Alexa Garrity orchestrated the offense with a match-high 52 assists.
Three different players recorded double-digit digs in the match for LHU. The Haven was led by Erin Walsh with 17 digs. Xuan and Bethany Burns recorded 14 and 11, respectively.
Farthing led LHU with three block assists.
Lock Haven will advance to Friday's Atlantic Region Semifinal where the Lady Eagles will face off against West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) Champion, Wheeling Jesuit. The match is set for 5 p.m.