Vassar Notches Four-Set Win Over Clarkson

POUGHKEEPSIE – After earning a straight-sets victory over St. Lawrence on Friday night, the Vassar College women’s volleyball team carried that momentum into Saturday afternoon’s matchup with Clarkson. In the first meeting between the teams since last season’s Liberty League semifinals, the Brewers (11-6, 3-1 Liberty) mounted an impressive 25-16, 16-25, 25-19, 25-23 triumph over the Golden Knights (9-8, 2-3 Liberty) at Kenyon Hall.

With the victory, Vassar moved into sole possession of third place in the Liberty League standings. The win also gave the Brewers the tiebreaker over Clarkson should the teams finish deadlocked.

“Our league is so tough and so even,” Head Coach Jonathan Penn said. “Four wins is going to get you in the conversation. We’re one win away from the conversation, so it (the win) did put is us in a good spot.”

The Brewers took command of the first set early on, racing out to an 8-3 lead. Clarkson cut the deficit to 9-6, but Vassar responded with a 7-2 run that extended the margin to eight points at 16-8. Kills by Sara Ehnstrom and Jane McLeod brought the Brewers to set point before a hitting error by the Golden Knights closed out the frame, 25-16.

It was Clarkson that built the early advantage in the second set. The Golden Knights scored four of the first five points and increased their cushion to11-6 before Vassar rattled off three straight points to get within two, 11-9. Clarkson won 13 of the next 16 points, though, to go up 24-12. The Brewers fought off four sets points before the Golden Knights finished off a 25-16 win that leveled the match.

Clarkson then started the fourth set on a 4-0 spurt, but Vassar countered with six of the next seven points to go ahead. The Brewers eventually opened up a six-point lead at 19-13 before the Golden Knights responded with three straight points to make it 19-16. McLeod followed with a kill, though, which started a 3-0 Vassar run that brought the margin back to six points, 22-16. A Devan Gallagher kill gave the Brewers a set point opportunity, and she slammed another to cap a 25-20 set win.

In the fourth set, Clarkson went up 4-3 before Vassar used a 9-2 rally to build a 12-6 cushion. After the Brewers increased the margin to seven points at 15-8, the Golden Knights got a kill from Meghan Edmund to spark a 13-5 run that gave Clarkson the lead, 21-20. Gallagher tied it with a kill, but Clarkson regained the advantage, 22-21. Vassar responded with three straight points, though, to reach match point, and McLeod ended it with a kill. The Brewers took the fourth set by a 25-23 count to secure a 3-1 match victory.

“We knew they were going to push us,” Penn said. “Losing that second set really put us up against it, but I’m pleased with the poise we showed to come back and play well in the third and fourth.”

Gallagher had her second straight double-double with 16 kills and 19 digs. She also notched a pair of blocks. McLeod tallied 13 kills and three service aces, while Ehnstrom was credited with 11 kills. Annie MacMillan posted her second double-double of the season, finishing with 39 assists and 12 digs. Anna Zucchero registered a team-best 26 digs for the Brewers, who hit a combined .159 (47 kills, 18 errors, 182 attempts) in the match.

Rachel Reusch paced Clarkson with 16 kills, and she added four blocks. Maddie Bredehoeft, meanwhile, completed a double-double with 10 kills and 22 digs. Haley Aud distributed 34 assists for the Golden Knights, who hit .142 (46-23-162) as a team. Clarkson, the conference leader in digs, held a 102-84 edge in that category, as Kate Isaksen finished with 34 digs and Celestial Berrera-Lopez contributed 15 digs.

On Wednesday, the Brewers conclude their five-match homestand with a 7 p.m. matchup against Bard.

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