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Clarkson, SUNY Potsdam Volleyball teams win tournament matches

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NEW PALTZ - Two matches took just over two hours for the Clarkson University Volleyball team on Friday afternoon as the Golden Knights posted a pair of swift three-set victories over Mount St. Mary and Johnson & Wales at the Hawks Invitational.

The Golden Knights improved to 7-3 overall and will take on New Paltz and Ithaca on Saturday in hopes of defending their title at the Hawks Invitational.

Clarkson started a little slow against Mount St. Mary, edinging out their opponents by just two points in each of the first two sets before dominating the third, winning 25-23, 26-24, 25-7. Freshman Victoria Kirkemo (Englewood, CO) struck for 17 kills, 7 digs and 4 aces while Adrienne Walker (Centennial, CO) produced seven kills in 17 attempts and added in four aces and a pair of blocks. Junior setter Lani Durio (Austin, TX) ran the offense with 39 assists in the three sets and also added in seven digs.

The Knights’ second match wasn’t as close, as Clarkson cruised 25-7, 25-9, 25-18 over Johnson & Wales. Durio had a double-double with 26 assists and 12 digs. Offensively, Aishvina Arasu (Brea, CA) had 13 kills and three blocks, while Bailey Walker (Centennial, CO) and Danielle Farabee (Katy, TX) were incredibly efficient. Walker had eight kills with only one error in 19 swings and Farabee had six kills with no errors in 10 attempts.

“I thought we started the first match a little slow after such a long bus ride and we have to learn to get better at that,” head coach Johan Dulfer remarked. “On top of that we played a little bit of an unfamiliar lineup but I have to give the girls credit. When the game was on the line they played really tough and played both of the first two sets without getting rattled. For such a young team that’s a huge compliment. In the second match we hit our stride and did what we had to do. We look forward to trying to defend our championship tomorrow against two good teams.”

POTSDAM WINS PAIR

In Rochester, SUNY Potsdam concluded day one of the RIT Invitational with two victories. Potsdam (8-4) defeated St. John Fisher (1-7) 3-0 and battled to a 3-1win over Nazareth College (5-6).

Potsdam commanded the court in a three set sweep over St. John Fisher in the first match. The Bears generated a 10-point lead in the first set, before closing the game 25-19. Potsdam carried the momentum into the next two sets. The Bears’ serve proved to be too much as they claimed the decision, 25-21 and 25-23. Senior middle hitters Kayla Howard (Marcellus, N.Y.) and Anne Fildes (Red Hook, N.Y.) led the attack with 8 kills each. Junior setter Jenna Blujus (Baldwinsville, N.Y.) finished with 28 assists and 12 digs. Senior libero Jill Dye (Middletown, N.Y.) contributed 14 digs.

“I was really happy with the way our team came out,” said Head Coach Steve Pike. “We were serving tough and we forced them out of their system. The keys to our success were our middle attack and our serving.”

The Bears battled to a thrilling win over Nazareth College.

Potsdam left everything on the court as they fought through four tough sets. The Bears took the first set with a close 28-26 victory. Potsdam trailed late in the second set 24-20. Tough serving and blocking by Blujus, Fildes and freshman outside hitter Rachel Auerbach (Ashburn, Va.) boosted the Bears to a 27-25 decision. Potsdam dropped the third set 19-25. The Bears rallied late in the fourth set down 24-21 to defeat Nazareth, 31-29. Auerbach led the Bears attack with 13 kills.

Blujus posted 33 assists and 23 digs. Howard finished with 10 kills, respectively.

Pike was pleased with his team’s resilience.

“I was really impressed with how hard the team fought. We never backed down and that was the key to our victory,” said Pike. “I thought we served really well and it kept Nazareth’s dynamic hitters off balance. Jenna did a great job running our offense and played very well defensively.

Stephanie Vlad (Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.) came in and generated some offense for us at key points. Rachel did really well on the outside for us and we continued our connection with the middle hitters.”

Potsdam will face Bluffton University (4-6) at 10 a.m. followed by the University of Rochester (8-3) at 2 p.m. to conclude the tournament.

SUNY CANTON SPLITS

The SUNY Canton women’s volleyball team split on the opening day of the Best Western-Ground Round Cardinal Classic at SUNY Plattsburgh as they lost to Division II St. Michael’s College 3-1 and then swept Elms College 3-0.

In the opening match the Roos (7-1) lost 17-25, 25-23, 22-25 and 19-25 and then rebounded against Elms winning in straight sets 25-8, 25-14 and 25-22.

SUNY Canton faces SUNY Plattsburgh today at noon.

SLU DROPS PAIR

The St. Lawrence University volleyball team was swept on Friday in their opening matches of the 2012 RIT InvitationaL. The Saints lost 3-0 to the University of Rochester and New York University, falling to 3-8 on the season.

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