Grand Rapids, MI – A day after a pair of losses to teams ranked in the top six in the country, the Clarkson University Volleyball team recovered with a pair of solid victories, including the Golden Knights first victory over a ranked team in 2013, a 3-2 win over the University of Chicago which was followed by a 3-0 win over Heidelberg.
The Golden Knights moved to 19-6 overall on the season and return home to prepare for their home tournament next weekend.
"After yesterday we could have easily been down and out but we chose to bring it today instead," exclaimed head coach Johan Dulfer. (Assistant coach) Lauren (Crump) and I are so proud of our effort and togetherness today. We made Chicago do things they really don't want to do and our middles really opened up the outsides for us. We were able to keep going back and forth and find success. Heidelberg was tough but we made sure to enjoy the experience of competing in such a great venue to the fullest. Today was another stepping stone in the development of our program."
The Knights easily could have fallen against Chicago after losing the first set in extra points (28-26), but Clarkson rallied to take two decisive sets (25-15, 25-18) and then held on for the win in five sets (26-28, 25-15, 25-18, 19-25, 15-8). The lengthy match saw the two teams combine for nearly 400 attacks in the match and nearly 200 digs, but the Knights were able to minimize their mistakes to record a solid hitting percentage overall (.287). Senior Xiao Liang (Tianjin, China) had just one error in 36 swings and recorded a match-high 16 kills, while sophomore Lauren Hutchinson (Spring, TX) was nearly as efficient with 14 kills and just three errors in the same number of attacks as Liang. Victoria Kirkemo (Englewood, CO) had 13 kills and Adrienne Walker (Centennial, CO) chipped in 12 kills and three total blocks. Clarkson had 15 aces in the match, with Kirkemo and Lani Durio (Austin, TX) each producing four. Durio ran the offense with 53 assists and added in 10 digs, while Kirkemo led the team with 24 digs. Senior Erika Chin (Katy, TX) also added 21 digs.
Following the long match against the Maroons, Clarkson was able to dispatch Heidelberg in three sets (25-18, 25-21, 25-22) to maintain momentum coming into this weekend. Sophomore Aishvina Arasu (Brea, CA) led the team with 10 digs, and the Knights ran a diverse offense once again with four other players recording at least six kills. Durio averaged almost 12 assists per set with a total of 35 and Kirkemo was again solid in all aspects of the game with eight kills, five aces and 14 digs. Erika Chin also had 18 digs and a pair of aces.