Potsdam, NY - Rachael Aird scored 14 kills and Rachel Reusch added 13 more kills as the Clarkson University Volleyball team hit .343 overall in a three-set sweep of Morrisville State in the NCAA Division III Volleyball Championship First Round match on Friday evening at Clarkson's Alumni Gymnasium.
Clarkson won its 12th consecutive match to improve to 22-7 on the season, while the Mustangs finished off their campaign with a record of 24-7. The Golden Knights will face fourth-seeded Babson College in the second Potsdam Regional Semifinal at 5:00 pm on Saturday. Ithaca College and Stevens Institute of Technology will play one another at 2:30 pm in the first semifinal of the regional.
A spunky Morrisville State squad provided plenty of competition for the top-seeded Clarkson University in the final match of the first round in the Potsdam Regional, but the Golden Knights still handled their business with a three-set sweep. Backed by a solid crowd of supporters, the Mustangs played a fiery brand of volleyball, but in the first set Clarkson proved to be too much for them to handle. A narrow margin between the two teams expanded quickly thanks to a big block from Clarkson that made things difficult for the Mustangs. Following block assists from Rachael Aird and Kendall Cheval, Morrisville found itself down 14-7, but rallied to get back within four (16-12). That was as close as the Mustangs would get, though, as the Knights rattled off seven straight points with a kill and two aces from Cheval, cruising to a 25-15 win.
Set number two was nothing like the first, however, as Morrisville hung around and trailed by just one (17-16) after block assists from Elycia Crittenden and Lindsay Sunderlage, forcing the Knights to take a timeout. Out of the break, it still took a few more points to create a more signficiant edge, but back-to-back aces from Jillian Saenz put the set out of reach as Clarkson gained a 25-21 win.
The third set was a near repeat of the second as Morrisville trailed by just two after the first 20 serves (11-9). At that point, Rachael Aird took over, scored four kills in an eight-point stretch to push the Knights out to a 19-10 lead. It was just a matter of time before the Knights finished things off and Clarkson ended with that same nine-point separation.
Rachael Aird recorded 14 kills and added three block assists to lead Clarkson's offense, while Rachel Reusch delivered a .571 hitting percentage on 13 kills and just a single error in 21 attempts. Jillian Saenz picked up five kills to go along with her 35 assists and three aces, and Kate Isaksen recorded 21 digs for the Knights. On Morrisville's side, Megyan Merrill scored nine kills to go along with nine digs and Amelia Baratier had seven kills and six digs. Morrisville also saw Helena Hanes recorded 14 assists with five kills and Kim Dunkelman chipped in 10 assists. Samantha Wolf also notched 16 digs and a pair of aces for the Mustangs.