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Clarkson Advances To Vball Regional Finals

POTSDAM – Averaging better than 20 digs per set, the Clarkson University Volleyball team kept Wellesley's offense frustrated in the final two sets and came away with a four-set win over the Blue, 25-23, 15-25, 25-13, 25-16, in the NCAA Division III Volleyball Potsdam Regional semifinals on Saturday evening at Alumni Gymnasium.

The Golden Knights, the top-seed in the region, improved to 27-5 on the year while Wellesley saw its season end at 23-6. Clarkson will now face conference foe Ithaca College for the third time in four weeks, this time in the Potsdam Regional Final with a trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals (Elite 8) on the line.

In the opening game of the match, Wellesley's offense was running through Nicole Doerges, who had five kills on 13 swings in the first set, and the Blue gained a four-point lead (21-17) when the sophomore put another ball down late. However, Clarkson took advantage of two errors and then tied things up on an ace from Kate Isaksen and a kill from Rachel Reusch. After briefly relinquishing the tie, Clarkson tacked on three straight points and then finished things off on a kill from Isabelle Crow, 25-23.

The second set favored Wellesley, as Izzy Seebold delivered the ball to her outsides Nicole Doerges and Lauren Gedney with greater frequency. Clarkson also struggled on the serve receive, playing out of system somewhat and not getting its hitters in position to finish plays off.

That would all change in the third and fourth sets as Clarkson's back row stepped up its game considerably, holding the Blue to .028 hitting percentages in the final two sets. The players up front also played a big part, as the frequent blocks of Clarkson were forcing tips and soft attacks, allowing Clarkson's fleet of defensive specialists to pick up the easy attempts for Clarkson's offense. The Knights hit .286 (14-4-35) in the third and .250 in the fourth (12-4-32), which was more than enough with the defense playing at such a high level.

Kate Isaksen delivered 27 digs and also had five assists, while Isabelle Crow notched 39 assists and 10 digs. Kristin Werdine also had a double-double on 14 kills and 12 digs and Rachel Reusch recorded 11 kills. Celestial Barrera-Lopez trailed only Isaksen in digs, picking up 19 in the win.

For Wellesley, Gedney (17 kills) and Doerges (16 kills) were the only two truly effective hitters for the Blue as the rest of the team hit .000 combined (16-16-69). Izzy Seebold had 29 assists and 15 digs and Meghan Shoop scored 20 digs.

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