For the second straight year, the Clarkson University Volleyball team, without an automatic bid from the Liberty League conference, had to wait with bated breath to learn whether an NCAA Tournament bid was in the squad’s future. Fortunately for the Golden Knights, their hopes were affirmed when the NCAA Tournament committee selected them as the fourth-seed in the New York Regional this weekend on the campus of New York University.
The Golden Knights, with a record of 27-9 overall, are one of eight teams playing in the regional, and will face off against Hunter College (17-17), the champions of the CUNYAC. Clarkson’s game will begin at approximately 5:30 pm on Friday and likely will be available for viewing as a webcast from NYU.
“We are very happy and honored to be representing the Liberty League in this year's NCAA Tournament,” Clarkson head coach Johan Dulfer remarked. “It's incredibly rewarding to be invited to return to the NCAA Tournament. Playing on the highest stage possible, two years in a row, is a great testament to how hard the team has worked and a reflection of how ambitious we are as a program. We will do everything we can to make Clarkson, the Liberty League, and all our loyal fans proud.”
Though Clarkson was unable to defend its Liberty League crown this past weekend, the tournament committee discounted the single loss and instead focused on the Knights overall body of work this fall, as the team went 3-3 against NCAA Tournament qualifiers, including a key victory against UMass-Boston, one of the top teams in the New England region.
The Golden Knights are a well-balanced team with a dominant outside attack and a defense that continually frustrates and wears out opponents. Sara Artus (St. Regis Falls, NY) was a conference all-star for the second straight year and also appears to have a good shot of repeating as an AVCA All-American. The junior outside hitter ranked 21st in the country in kills per set prior to the Liberty League Tournament, and averaged close to five kills per set in that four-match streak. Artus posted 530 kills overall, and classmate Megan Mahon (Irvine, CA) contributed 362 kills as well, also gaining Liberty League First-Team All-Star status. Defensively, the Knights are led by senior libero Alison Schroeder (Webster, NY) with her 601 digs. A pair of freshmen contributes heavily for the Knights’ back row also, with newcomers Holly McDaniel (Hacienda Heights, CA) and Erika Chin (Katy, TX) producing 395 and 337 digs, respectively.