POTSDAM, N.Y. -- After trading points in the early going, Clarkson went on an 8-0 run to take a seven-point advantage in the first set and then never looked back in cruising to an opening-round win against Westfield State, 25-12, 25-7, 25-5, at the NCAA Division III Potsdam Regional on Friday night at Alumni Gymnasium.
The Golden Knights, ranked 22nd in the country, improved to 34-6 overall and will face New York University in the Potsdam Regional semifinals at 6 pm Saturday. Westfield State closed out its season at 19-15.
Following some early match jitters, the Golden Knights took little time in finding their groove offensive, hitting .461 overall. Clarkson did have 15 kills in the first set for a .387 clip (just three errors in 31 attempts) as Westfield State did not have any answers for the diverse attack put forth by Clarkson.
In the second and third sets combined, Clarkson hit better than .500 and allowed the Owls to score only 12 points. Additionally, Clarkson's serving game put Westfield State on edge, as the Knights posted 13 aces, including six by Victoria Kirkemo.
In Clarkson's .461 overall hitting percentage, the Knights struck for 40 kills against just five errors in 76 attempts. Senior Xiao Liang led the way with a .722 hitting percentage, going for 14 kills against just a single error in 18 swings. Kirkemo also added eight kills with one error in 24 swings, and was outdone by her classmate Aishvina Arasu who had the same numbers in just 14 attempts. Another sophomore, Lauren Hutchinson produced five kills with one erorr in eight attempts. Lani Durio averaged 11 assists per set and Erika Chin produced 14 digs overall. Kirstie Shurie also had three aces in Clarkson's 13-ace attack.
For the Owls, Julia Warner swung for eight kills, more than half of Westfield State's total of 15. Carolyn Cote produced 10 assists and Lindsay Rescott added in 10 digs.