NEW YORK CITY – Struggling against a relentless block, the Clarkson University Volleyball team held its own against 15th-ranked New York University, but the Golden Knights were unable to outlast the Violets NCAA Tournament New York Regional’s second round Saturday night at Coles Sports Center on the campus at New York University.
The Golden Knights, seeded fourth in the New York Regional, finished off the season with a 28-10 record, the second most victories in program history. NYU, the region’s top seed, improved its record to 37-5 and will play Stevens Tech in the New York Regional Final on Sunday afternoon.
In the first set, Clarkson jumped out to a quick lead, earning four of the first five points, but NYU quickly rallied back to tie the score 5-5. Neither team was able to enjoy more than a one-point lead until the Violets finally pulled forward, 21-18, forcing the Knights to take a timeout. The rest helped considerably, as Clarkson took the next three points to tie the score at 21, but NYU finished the set with four unanswered points of its own, winning 25-21. The set was even closer than the final score showed, as there were 15 ties and 7 lead changes in the opener.
The next set looked like it would be a replica of the first, but midway through the set, the Violets gained a two-point edge (11-9) and slowly pushed their advantage upward, with Clarkson closing the gap to four at 21-17. Once again, however, NYU scored the final four points of the set for the victory.
Courtney Haines (Crestview, FL) started the third set in style for Clarkson, recording three kills in the first four points to give Clarkson an early edge. Just as they had in the first set, though, the Violets once again quickly nullified the Clarkson advantage. With the score tied at 11-11, NYU took the next four points and seven of the next eight overall, to claim an 18-12 lead.
From there, Clarkson was playing catch up against a tough squad, and could only play even for the rest of the set, finishing seven points behind.
Junior Sara Artus (St. Regis Falls, NY) scored 10 kills with only one error in 30 swings for Clarkson, and classmate Nicole Edwards (Weiser, ID) had six kills in 15 swings, but the rest of the Knights offense had trouble getting around NYU’s formidable block, hitting a collective 12-9-66 (.045).
Freshman Lani Durio (Austin, TX) had 25 assists in the match, while Erika Chin (Katy, TX) and Alison Schroeder (Webster, NY) had 19 and 17 digs, respectively.
"NYU is just a really good team, but I thought we had a great game plan going in, and the girls executed it almost to perfection," head coach Johan Dulfer remarked. "I thought we made them very uncomfortable and forced them to do things they usually don't like to do. To say that I am proud of how well we competed today would be an understatement. As a program, we are not far away from winning these matches, and as a team we are left hungry for more, yet proud of what we accomplished this year."