ST. PAUL, Minn. – After falling behind early in the opening game, the Carleton College volleyball team never got completely back on track and dropped its conference opener, 3-1, at St. Catherine University. Jessa Youso (Sr./Virginia, Minn./Virginia) and Sarah Nielsen (Sr./ Altoona, Wis./Altoona) combined for 32 kills, but the Knights were unable to avoid a third consecutive setback.
The St. Catherine Wildcats (4-5, 1-0 MIAC) started the night hot, jumping out to a 13-4 lead before Carleton (6-3, 0-1 MIAC) responded with a 13-6 burst of its own. Ultimately the deficit proved too large as the hosts prevailed, 25-21.
The Knights bounced back and with serious force in the second set, mounting an attack centered around the work of setter Alicia Flatt (So./Walnut Creek, Calif./Carondelet), who distributed 13 of her 43 assists in this set alone. As a team Carleton hit .350 and only committed three errors. The Knights raced to a 13-5 lead and knotted the match by winning the set, 25-17.
The third set was tight throughout, featuring 17 ties and 10 lead changes as the Wildcats eventually won, 29-27.
Things looked good for the Knights late in the fourth game with the visitors serving, up 20-16. St. Kate’s however closed on a 9-2 spurt—helped by five Carleton miscues—and closed out the match, 25-22.
"That was a tough loss for us tonight,” commented head coach Heidi Jaynes. “The team fought back after a slow start in set one, but we ran out of time. They carried that momentum into the second set and the last two sets were a battle for every point."
Chloe Nelson (Jr./Madison, Wis./West) and Camille Benson (Fy./Savage, Minn./Burnsville) paced Carleton with 23 and 21 digs apiece. Karen Halls (So./Edina, Minn./Edina) figured in a team-best six blocks.
St. Kate’s had three players in double-digits for kills: Brittni Wangerin (16), Kelsey Wirtanen (12) and Marie O’Neil (12).
Carleton looks to return to the win column with four matches this weekend at the Macalaster Invitational tournament in St. Paul, Minn.