Canton, NY – Freshman Aishvina Arasu (Brea, CA) led a diverse attack for the Clarkson University Volleyball team Friday night, scoring 20 kills in just three sets, as the Golden Knights defeated RIT 25-21, 25-10, 25-18 in Liberty League action at Burkman Gymnasium on the campus of St. Lawrence University.
The Golden Knights improved to 21-4 overall and 9-1 in the Liberty League with the sweep, while RIT is now 22-12 and 5-5. Both teams have clinched a spot in the conference tournament two weeks from now at a site yet to be determined.
Clarkson struggled to solve RIT in the early going as the Tigers were able to score points from the outside, but the Golden Knights defense solidified up front and on the back row to escape an early deficit. The Knights trailed in the first set (16-12), but rattled off six straight to take their first lead. RIT came back to tie briefly (18-18), but Clarkson closed out the set by winning seven of the final 11 points.
That momentum was key in the second set, as the Knights jumped out quickly and only saw RIT come back to tie twice (5-5, 6-6) before finding an impressive groove offensively. Clarkson hit on all cylinders with offense coming from all of its hitters, and the Tigers were unable to find an answer. In one stretch, Clarkson won 13 of 14 points and cruised to a 25-10 victory in set number two.
The third set mirrored the first as far as a close game, but Clarkson again turned it on when it was necessary. Up by just two points, 17-15, the Knights picked up four kills from Arasu to close out the match by winning eight of the final 11 points.
“First and foremost, we think RIT is a very dangerous, well-coached team,” head coach Johan Dulfer said. “They started off the match at a really high level and I’m very impressed with the poise that we showed in sticking to our game plan and not getting rattled early. As the match progressed I thought we just wore them down with good solid serving and a relentless offense. We can’t way to finally get back to our home court tomorrow for two more matches.”
Arasu had 20 kills with only two errors in 37 attempts and also added in eight digs. Victoria Kirkemo (Englewood, CO) wasn’t as productive, but her percentage was even more impressive with 10 kills and no errors in 16 swings, while Adrienne Walker (Centennial, CO) added in nine kills and only one error in 16 attempts with four total blocks. Kirstie Shurie (LaCanada, CA) had 41 assists for Clarkson and added in 12 digs, while Kirkemo and Erika Chin (Katy, TX) each had 13 digs to lead the Knights.