RIVER FALLS, Wis.— After winning their previous four matches in straight sets, the Carleton College volleyball team went the distance on Wednesday night to earn a thrilling five-set road victory (18-25, 25-19, 25-22, 17-25, 15-13) against the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. With the win, Carleton moves its overall record to 4-1 on the year, while the loss dropped the Falcons to 1-4.
After River Falls earned a 25-18 win in the first set, the Knights responded in the second set. Clinging to a 19-18 lead late in the set, Carleton won six out of the ensuing seven points to win the set 25-19 and even the match at 1-1. The Falcons seemed poised to take a leg up in the match in the third set and led 17-11 midway through the set before Carleton won the next six points to even the set at 17-17. The two teams traded points, before the Knights were able to prevail down the stretch to pull out a 25-22 win.
River Falls responded with a 25-17 win in the next set to force a decisive fifth set, but the Knights were up to the task, as they earned an exciting 15-13 win to close out the match and earn their fourth consecutive victory.
“It was a tough battle tonight under some challenging conditions on the road,” stated Carleton head coach Heidi Jaynes. “Lexi Papke, Rachel Womack and Karen Halls had stand out nights for us at the net. Overall it was a great win for us to build on going into our tournament this weekend.”
Rachel Womack (Sr./St. Paul, Minn./Highland Park) led the Carleton offensive attack with a team-best 13 kills, while hitting .393 for the match, while Karen Halls (Sr./Edina, Minn.) and Caroline Duke (So./Evanston, Ill.) chipped in with 10 kills each. Duke added 21 assists and six digs, while Lexi Papke (So./Strum, Wis./Regis) added six kills and two blocks and two aces in the match. Alicia Flatt (Sr./Walnut Creek, Calif./Carondelet) claimed a team-best 22 assists, while Camille Benson (Jr./Savage, Minn./Burnsville) led all participants with 29 digs and added two service aces.
For the Falcons, Rebecca Gasper (Jr./New Berlin, Wis./West) led the way with a match-best 14 kills and four blocks.
Carleton returns to action this weekend when they head to St. Paul, Minn. to participate in the Macalester College Invitational. The Knights open up on Friday with a 4 p.m. afternoon match against the University of Wisconsin-Stout, before facing the University of Minnesota-Morris at 6 p.m. Carleton closes out the tournament with a match against Beloit College at 12 p.m. Saturday.