Potsdam, NY - With a young team, hiccups are expected over the course of a long season. Fortunately for the Clarkson University Volleyball team a cure was discovered after an opening set loss to Potsdam in a four-set match victory, 23-25, 25-22, 26-24, 25-20 Tuesday evening at Alumni Gymnasium.
The Golden Knights, receiving votes in the latest AVCA National poll for the first time in program history, improved to 4-0 overall on the season, while Potsdam dropped to 2-3.
Clarkson raced out to take seven of the first eight points of the match, but the Bears recovered to win 10 of the final 13 points of the set and win 25-23, surprising the unbeaten Knights. After the slump continued to start the second set with the Knights trailing by five points midway through, the Clarkson offense founds its rhythm and swung at .325 hitting percentage in the second set as Lani Durio (Austin, TX) found her stride and had 15 assists in the set. The Knights won 14 of 20 points after falling behind 11-6 and was able to maintain that momentum in the next two sets.
Potsdam nearly took the third set and was up late, but Clarkson finally claimed the lead 23-22. After Potsdam took the next two points, Adrienne Walker (Centennial, CO) struck for two kills and the Knights won the crucial set, allowing them to take a breath in the fourth set, in which they never trailed.
"Give credit where credit is due, that's the best that I've seen Potsdam compete since I remember playing them," head coach Johan Dulfer said. "(Potsdam) Coach (Steve) Pike always does a great job getting his team ready, and they out passed us and out blocked us all night which really pushed us to the brink. I'm really glad that on an off-night we were still able to pull out the victory, but hope that we've learned our lesson in how to prepare mentally for every team."
On the third dig of the match for Erika Chin (Katy, TX) the junior posted her 1000th career dig. She had 35 in the match, a season-high.
Durio had 50 assists for the second time this season and also added in 15 digs as Potsdam tried to keep Clarkson's All-American setter out of the offense. Aishvina Arasu (Brea, CA) posted 18 kills with a .316 hitting percentage and VIctoria Kirkemo (Englewood, CO) had a solid all-around match with 14 kills, 8 digs, 3 aces, and 2 blocks. Walker added in 11 kills with a .348 hitting percentage and Kirstie Shurie (LaCanada, CA) added three aces, including two key aces late in one set.