Annandale-on-Hudson, NY - An outstanding effort from the outside hitters of the Clarkson University Volleyball team allowed the Golden Knights to improve to 6-0 in the Liberty League with three-set wins over Skidmore College (25-14, 25-17, 25-13) and Vassar College (25-18, 25-19, 25-14) on Friday night.
With the two wins over the Thoroughbreds and Brewers, Clarkson ran its winning streak to eight straight matches to improve to 15-4 overall and 6-0 in the Liberty League. The Knights, who have still yet to lose a set in conference action, will play two more conference matches on Saturday when they face Union College and Bard College.
Thirteen aces highlighted Clarkson's three-set sweep of Vassar, including five by sophomore Victoria Kirkemo (Englewood, CO). Lani Durio (Austin, TX), Erika Chin (Katy, TX), Aishvina Arasu (Brea, CA), and Adrienne Walker (Centennial, CO) each chipped in two aces as well as the Knights put plenty of pressure on the Thoroughbreds from the start of every point. For the points that lasted beyond the initial serve, Clarkson's outside hitters were a dominant force as Kirkemo and Arasu combined for 25 kills, striking at a collective .358 clip (25-6-53). The Knights defense also played at an exceptional level, limiting Skidmore to a .000 hitting percentage (15-15-82). Erika Chin led the team with 12 digs while Durio added eight and Arasu and Kirstie Shurie (LaCanada, CA) each contributed seven digs.
Clarkson's defense was on display in the second match, once again limiting the Vassar offense to just a .033 hitting percentage (22-19-90). The Knights had 40 digs, led by Chin's 10, and had 10 total blocks, including four from Adrienne Walker. It was the outside hitters that produced the most offensively for the Knights against the Brewers, led by sophomore Aishvina Arasu, who had 11 kills against just two errors in 22 swings. Senior Xiao Liang (Tianjin, China) took only 13 swings, but had seven kills and only one error in her attacks from the middle. Durio recorded her sixth straight 30-assist match in league play, despite playing the minimum amount of sets once again.
"We served very aggressively, like we normally do, and it allowed us to be in free-ball offense-mode a lot today," head coach Johan Dulfer said. "I thought Vassar was much improved from the last time we saw them and they really tried to take advantage of things they see as our weaknesses, but every time it looked like they might have found something that would work, we responded by raising our bottom line. This team really enjoys competing with one another, in practice and in games, which (assistant coach) Lauren (Crump) and I are incredibly proud of."