Clarkson Volleyball Wins Fourth Straight Regional Title

Clarkson Volleyball Wins Fourth Straight Regional Title

Potsdam, NY - Senior setter Kirstie Shurie ran the Clarkson University Volleyball team's offense with her normal aplomb, recording 41 assists and four aces, as the Golden Knights won their fourth straight regional title with a 3-0 victory over Springfield College at the Potsdam, NY Regional of the NCAA Division III Volleyball Championships on Sunday afternoon.

With a strong effort from the service line and excellent passing, Clarkson University was able to push past Springfield College in three sets. The Golden Knights needed to battle through the first set, but enjoyed lopsided wins in the final two sets (25-23, 25-14, 25-18). Clarkson improved to 30-8 on the season while Springfield saw its season finish at 31-4.

In the first set, Clarkson and Springfield exchanged points for the first half of the game, with neither team able to gain more than a two-point advantage until a kill from Aishvina Arasu gave Clarkson a little breathing room (19-16). An ace Kirstie Shurie and a hitting error pushed the advantage to five points, but Springfield closed the gap and tied the set up at 23-23 with block assists from Jennifer Hurwitz and Lauren Holt. Clarkson would not be denied, however, as a hitting error and an emphatic kill from Rachael Aird ended the set in Clarkson's favor.

For the second straight day, Clarkson utilized a strong run from a server to turn a deficit into a solid lead early in a set. Clarkson trailed by two points (6-4) in the early going, but reclaimed the serve on an error and then Kirstie Shurie picked up a pair of aces and kept the Pride off balance and out of sync offensively, pushing the Knights to an 11-6 lead. Though Springfield would stop that rally momentarily, Clarkson gained a double-digit advantage (19-9) and cruised to a double-figure win.

Set three was close in the early going as the two teams were tied all the way up to 13-13. Clarkson scored four straight points and then extended its lead to 19-14 when Arasu delivered another kill. A kill from Kirstie Shurie and then block assists by Shurie and Danielle Farabee gave Clarkson a six-point lead (22-16) late, and the Knights tacked on points with kills from Lauren Hutchinson and Arasu. A kill by Springfield's Lauren Holt delayed the inevitable at 24-18, and Victoria Kirkemo closed the set and the match out with her 12th kill of the day.

Clarkson held Springfield, one of the top offenses in the nation, to a .106 hitting percentage and nearly doubled the Pride's kill total (46-24). The Pride were able to deny the Knights with eight blocks, but Clarkson still hit .241 in the match. The Regional's Most Outstanding Player Kirstie Shurie had another double-double with 41 assists and 11 digs and also had a team-high four aces. The senior setter found plenty of options around the court on offense, with Kirkemo leading the way with 12 kills. Rachael Aird had the highest hitting percentage at .588 (11-1-17) and Arasu tied with 11 kills as well. Lauren Hutchinson produced eight kills on 20 swings with just two miscues to hit .300. Clarkson's defense was also on with 52 digs as Kirkemo and Shurie tied for the team lead with 11 and freshman libero Tara Stilwell added in eight. Savannah Peter and Sierra Rhoades also contributed two aces each. Springfield's Lauren Holt was virtually unstoppable with seven kills on eight swings, but the Pride were out of system enough to keep her from getting many swings. Elise Brogan hit .273 with seven kills and an error in 22 swings, but no other Springfield player recorded more than three kills. Holt also had five blocks, with two solo efforts, and Kayleigh Helgesen had four block assists. Hannah Lozano had nine digs on defense and Kerry Purcell scored three aces.