Potsdam, NY – Senior Rachael Aird captured Most Valuable Player honors for the Clarkson University Volleyball team as the Golden Knights swept through two more matches on day two of the North Country Invitational on Saturday.
The Golden Knights improved to 5-2 thanks to sweeps of Fredonia State (25-10, 25-17, 25-14) and SUNY Potsdam (25-14, 25-19, 25-13).
Versus Fredonia, the Golden Knights were so much dominant as they were apparently intimidating, as the Blue Devils committed 32 hitting errors with only 17 kills (-.136 hitting percentage) in the match. Part of that was because the Knights kept Fredonia off balance with its service game, which not only got aces but kept the Blue Devils out of an offensive rhythm. In the first set, Clarkson turned a 4-3 lead into a nine-point edge after eight straight points and maintained that edge in a lopsided win. The second set was much more back and forth, as the Blue Devils trailed by just a single point (17-16) before Aird took over. The senior middle delivered a kill to the center of the floor and then went back to the service line where she scored four aces in a stretch of five points to all but close out the set. The same occurred in the third, except this time it was Jillian Saenz who turned a modest three-point advantage into a double-digit lead, allowing Clarkson to cruise through the final set to win the match.
Aird had just six kills in the match, but the first of the game was the 1000th of her career, making her the 11th player in Clarkson history to accomplish the feat. She also produced four aces and four blocks to lead the Knights. Kendall Cheval also had five kills to go along with 10 digs, while Saenz had 18 assists and Kate Isaksen had 14 digs. For Fredonia, Kristen Stanek led the way with seven kills and Amanda Mosack had 13 assists after taking over as setter. Courtney Poirier led a solid defensive effort from the Blue Devils with 18 digs.
In the final match of the weekend, the Golden Knights twice fought from behind to win the first two sets handily against Potsdam, and then finished off the set with another overwhelming game.
Clarkson came out a little flat in the first set and trailed 9-5 in the early going, but five straight points saw the Knights take the lead at 10-9. Although the Bears tied things up at 10-10, Clarkson won 10 of the next 11 points to take control and Meghan Edmund produced a pair of aces late to give the Knights a double-digit win (25-14).
Set number two was similar to the first, as Potsdam was ahead by five points near the mid-point (12-7) only to see Clarkson score five straight to tie the set. The Bears didn't wilt this time, however, as they fought back and enjoyed a 19-18 lead, forcing Clarkson to take a timeout. Whatever coach Carol LaMarche said proved to be enough, as Clarkson won the final seven points of the set, thanks to three kills from Maddie Bredehoeft.
The third set was never really in doubt as Clarkson enjoyed a solid lead throughout the game and nearly doubled up the Bears by the end.
Aird finished with 16 kills, but it was Meghan Edmund who had the best offensive match of her career. The junior hit .583 with eight kills and just one error in 12 attempts to go along with 12 digs and three aces. Rachel Reusch added nine kills, while Jillian Saenz led the offense with 40 assists. Kate Isaksen also produced 25 digs on defense. For Potsdam, Kelsea Healis had seven kills and 10 digs, while Anika Anderson and Maddie Kaplan were also busy on defense with 12 and 11 digs, respectively. Brianna Rodda distributed 17 assists.