Knights volleyball team swept out by 19th-ranked Red Dragons
Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 10:11 pm

Cortland, NY - With apologies to some other teams vying for one of the top positions, the top two teams in the New York Region met up Tuesday evening, each sporting unblemished marks of 17-0. With a three-set 31-29, 25-16, 25-9 victory, 19th-ranked Cortland State verified its place among the nation’s elite, downing the visiting Clarkson University Volleyball team Tuesday evening at Pete Corey Gymnasium, and ending the Golden Knights’ season-opening 17-game winning streak.

The Golden Knights lost their first match of the season, dropping to 17-1, while Cortland State remained unbeaten at 18-0. Clarkson returns for home matches on Friday for the first time since the first weekend of September when it faces conference foes Skidmore College and Vassar College.

The first set was a topsy-turvy affair with neither team able to gain much of a foothold until the Knights gained a four-point advantage at 17-13, forcing a timeout by Cortland. Clarkson saw its lead evaporate when the Red Dragons scored six of the next eight points, tying things up at 19-19. However, Clarkson held a 24-20 lead following a Rachel Simons (Webster, NY) block and was serving for the set before Cortland rattled off five straight points. The Red Dragons also couldn’t hold on and the set went to extra points, with Clarkson once again serving for the set at 29-28, but an error tied it up once again and Cortland pushed for two more points to make it 31-29.

“We knew coming in that Cortland is a very good team, and with incredible crowd support and the fact it was senior night gave them a huge adrenaline push on top of that,” head coach Johan Dulfer remarked. “I was impressed with their composure when they were down 24-20 in the first set, but that's a situation we normally capitalize in and the match would've probably taken a different turn. Nevertheless, once that first set turned in their favor, Cortland stayed very consistent and even grew in the match where we started playing tentative volleyball. Give credit to a very good team; Cortland saves their best for important matches. However, we will bounce back and show our true colors when we get back to our own gym this weekend for a change.”

In the second set, Cortland raced out to a three-point advantage with the momentum from its first-set victory, but Clarkson clawed back and the set was tied 10-10 after three straight points from Clarkson, including a pair of kills from Sara Artus (St. Regis Falls, NY). After falling behind by three, another Artus kill pulled the Knights back to within two points at 14-12, but Cortland scored 11 of the final 15 points for what looked like an uneven set victory at 25-16.

Clarkson’s errors hurt any chances of a comeback in the third set, falling behind by five points to start the set. A few points narrowed the gap for the Knights, but Cortland, pushed loudly by a raucous home crowd, cruised to a 25-9 set victory to close out the match.

Artus finished with 13 kills to lead the Golden Knights, while Lani Durio (Austin, TX) finished with 25 assists and 10 digs. Erika Chin (Katy, TX) led the team with 15 digs and also contributed the team’s only two aces.