Potsdam, NY - Streaky serving often allowed the Clarkson University Volleyball team to take huge leads in their convincing victories over Bard College and Vassar College on Friday evening as the Golden Knights swept both squads in Liberty League action at Alumni Gymnasium.
The Golden Knights moved to 11-4 overall and 3-0 in the Liberty League and will look to close out the opening conference week on a higher note when they face RIT on Saturday at St. Lawrence University. The Raptors fell to 2-13 overall and 0-3 in league games, while Vassar, which only played a single match on Friday, fell to 9-6 and 1-1.
Clarkson and Bard traded points in the early going, but after the Knights recovered the serve, senior Lani Durio (Austin, TX) served on 16 straight points, with numerous aces to help quickly close out the Raptors. The second set was similar, as a deficit was turned into a six-point advantage while Xiao Liang (Tianjin, China) was going from the back line. The third set had a similar run as the Knights won the three-set match 25-4, 25-14, 25-12.
The Green and Gold hit at a .430 clip in the match, but the most impressive feat on the game was by Durio, as she hit for a triple-double with 31 assists, 10 digs, and an impressive 11 aces. Liang was the top hitter for the Knights, banging down 10 kills with just a single error in 17 swings. Kristen Orlandini (Fairport, NY) led the team defensively with 12 digs.
In the second match of the evening, sophomore Aishvina Arasu (Brea, CA) set a tone for the Knights, registering points on nine straight serves to turn a one-point lead into a double-digit advantage as Clarkson cruised in the opening set against Vassar. The second set saw Clarkson turn a two-point deficit midway through into a two-point lead and, eventually, a four-point victory, but it was the third set that allowed the Knights to come away with a lopsided victory. Kirstie Shurie (LaCanada, CA) started the Knights off with eight straight points for a 9-0 lead after taking the first point from the Brewers, and the sophomore then closed out the set with six more points, including an ace on the final serve of the match, from the back line to finish off Vassar, 25-11, 25-21, 25-10.
Liang and Arasu each struck for 11 kills in the match, as the two combined to swing at a .513 clip for the match. Shurie had four aces, and Durio led the team with 31 assists. Erika Chin (Katy, TX) took the first match of the night off, but showed little rust, producing 20 digs in just three sets.
"Today was a real team effort and we needed absolutely everybody to turn in a back-to-back, two-match performance like we did," head coach Johan Dulfer remarked. "We are lucky to have such depth on our roster. Days like these are incredibly difficult because our two opponents were so vastly different. It was great to see how everyone rallied around some misfortune and stepped up when we needed them to. I thought we served tough and were incredibly efficient and, sometimes, even explosive on offense. It's nice to see that we can do that when we're pushed."