Potsdam, NY - After settling in against a strong multi-pronged attack with strong blocking ability, third-seeded Clarkson University Volleyball team found a rhythm from the service line and kept sixth-seeded Nazareth College on its heels as the Golden Knights took down the Golden Flyers in four sets, 25-27, 25-18, 25-23, 25-13, in the opening round of the Division III NCAA New York Volleyball Regional.
The Golden Knights improved to 29-6 overall on the season, tying a school mark for victories in a season (2009, 2011) and guaranteeing their best winning percentage in program history. Nazareth finished its campaign at 22-15.
In the first set, the Golden Flyers' middle hitters put in a solid effort all around, striking for kills and denying the Clarkson outside hitters. Despite their show of force, however, the Golden Flyers trailed by three points in the first set (24-21) before rallying back to take the next four and six of the final seven to claim a win in the first set. That disappointment didn't change the mindset of the Golden Knights as Clarkson was able to minimize its attack mistakes and start controlling the game from the service line. Clarkson finished the match with 13 aces against six errors, while Nazareth had just three aces but 15 errors.
A key point in the match came late in the third set with the two teams tied at one set apiece. Clarkson led by two points (23-21), but Nazareth rallied back to claim the next two tallies to tie the score at 23-23. An error and an ace gave the Golden Knights the victory in the set, and Clarkson made sure to put make the final set a no-doubter, winning by double figures (25-13).
Sophomore middle hitter Adrienne Walker (Centennial, CO) was virtually unstoppable up front with 16 kills and only a pair of errors in 25 swings (.560 hitting percentage) to go along with six total blocks. Freshman Victoria Kirkemo (Engelwood, CO) also added 14 kills and four aces. Junior setter Lani Durio (Austin, TX) led the team with 37 assists and also matched Kirkemo's ace output with four of her own. Defensively, Erika Chin (Katy, TX) contributed 18 digs and also three aces.
For Nazareth, Maria Allocco had 10 kills and nearly produced a double-double with nine blocks, including three solos. Amy Johnson finished off nine kills with only one miscue in 17 swings and also added five blocks. Aubrey Cooke ran the offense with 37 assists and five block assists and Brittany Crocetti led the defense with 20 digs.