Potsdam, NY – Though it wasn't the same caliber team as last year, the Clarkson University Volleyball team opened up the Victory Promotions Invitational with an overwhelming three-set sweep (25-13, 25-9, 25-4) of Southern Vermont on Friday night before facing Queens College in an exhibition match, with the Knights coming away with a four-set win (20-25, 25-13, 25-22, 25-13).
The Golden Knights, ranked 23rd in the country, improved to 4-2 overall, and will take on Norwich University at 11:00 am on Saturday before facing Plattsburgh State at 3:00 pm.
The Mountaineers were a little undersized up front and Clarkson took full advantage of swinging over top a shorter block by hitting .382 in the match. Sophomore Victoria Kirkemo (Englewood, CO) was the leader offensively, striking for 13 kills with just a single error in 20 swings (.600 hitting percentage). Junior Adrienne Walker (Centennial, CO) didn't have the same number of attacks, but was nearly as effective by hitting at a .545 clip (7-1-11) while senior Xiao Liang (Tianjin, China) had six kills and two errors in 13 attacks. Senior setter Lani Durio (Austin, TX) led the offense with 26 assists, and Erika Chin (Katy, TX) added six assists and 11 digs, moving into second place all-time at Clarkson (1753) in that category.
In the exhibition match against Queens, Clarkson had trouble with errors in the opening set, but long serving runs by Victoria Kirkemo and Erika Chin each gave the Knights huge advantages in the second and fourth sets to take the final three games.
"I think we got to see a little bit of everything today," head coach Johan Dulfer remarked. "I thought it was great to see the focus of the team as they prepared to face off with Queens College. Physically, that is the type of team that traditionally causes issues for us. They are just so tall up front and, in system, very dangerous. It was good to see how we built increasing pressure on them throughout the match, and how we found ways to score against their impressive block. That lesson will serve us well this season."