Holland, MI - A 10-match winning streak came to an end for the Clarkson University Volleyball team, but it took the number-two ranked team in the country to stop the Golden Knights this weekend as the Green and Gold fell to two teams in the top six in the country in Hope College (25-19, 25-17, 25-16) and Elmhurst College (26-24, 25-23, 25-20) Friday night at the Midwest Invitational.
The Golden Knights fell to 17-6 overall while Hope improved to 20-1 and Elmhurst moved to 22-2. Of Clarkson's six losses this year, five have come to teams ranked in the top eight in the country. Clarkson will face 15th-ranked University of Chicago and Heidelberg tomorrow to close out the tournament.
"Both of our opponents today served tougher than we passed and that creates problems any time that happens," head coach Johan Dulfer said. "Hope is relentless in that they have so many weapons. I thought it was incredibly encouraging that we hit positive for the full match by quite a bit but we couldn't match the number of kills needed to push them harder than we did. Elmhurst was greatly improved from the last time we played them and I thought we played a great match. In the end we came up just short but we needed to be reminded of what it takes to have to be focused and sharp for every point. That's exactly why we are here this weekend. We are not far off from winning these matches. Tomorrow we will be better again. Every day is about improving and we are trying to be sponges right now."
In the opening match, the Knights fells hort against the Flying Dutch, whose only loss this year came to the top-ranked team in the country. Lani Durio (Austin, TX) led a diverse offense with 25 assists, setting up Adrienne Walker (Centennial, CO) with eight kills, Aishvina Arasu (Brea, CA) and Xiao Liang (Tianjin, China) with seven kills each, and Victoria Kirkemo (Englewood, CO) with six kills. Erika Chin (Katy, TX) led the defense with 18 digs.
Against Elmhurst College, the two teams fought hard in a long match that saw the team teams combine for 263 attacks and 140 digs in just three sets. Chin led the Knights with 26 digs and Durio had 26 assists and 15 digs. Lauren Hutchinson (Spring, TX) struck at a .350 clip (8 kills, one error, in 20 attempts) from the right side, and Victoria Kirkemo chipped in eight kills as well.