NORTHFIELD, Minn.— Rachel Johnson (Sr./Woodbury, Minn./Woodbury) claimed a team-high 11 kills and four blocks, while Camille Benson (So./Savage, Minn./Burnsville) added a match-high 41 digs, but the Carleton College volleyball team came up short in it’s season finale against Hamline University on Friday evening in front of a vibrant crowd on hand at West Gym to celebrate senior night.
The Pipers, who are set to enter next week’s Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Playoffs as the six seed, jumped out to a big lead early in the first set. Carleton rallied to pull within two points at 11-9, but Hamline closed the set out on a 14-4 run en route to a 25-13 win and early match lead.
Carleton bounced back in the second set, gaining a two-point lead at 9-7 following a kill from Johnson. After a quick Piper run event the match at 11-11, Carleton reeled off four consecutive points behind a kill each from Claire Willeck (Jr./Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie) and Karen Halls (Jr./Edina, Minn./Edina) and a service ace from Caroline Duke (Fy./Evanston, Ill./Evanston). Hamline pulled within two points at 15-13, but would not get any closer during the remainder of the set as Carleton earned an exciting 25-22 set victory to square the match at 1-1.
After falling into an early deficit in the third set and trailing by as many as six at 20-14, Carleton rallied to pull within two at 21-19 on the heels of a two consecutive kills from Johnson. The Knights could get no closer however, as Hamline closed the set with a 4-1 scoring run to earn a crucial 25-20 set win and match lead.
Hamline carried the momentum into the fourth set en route to a 25-14 win and match victory.
“I'm proud that we kept our composure after a slow start in the opening set,” stated Carleton head coach Heidi Jaynes. “Once we got our offense going we played with more confidence. It was a fun match to be a part of. The huge fan section really gave us that extra energy tonight.”
Johnson’s 11 kills came while recording a team-high .296 hitting percentage. Halls and Willeck added eight and six kills respectively, while Duke added 16 assists, 12 digs and five kills. Alicia Flatt (Jr./Walnut Creek, Calif./Carondelet) claimed a team-high 21 assists, while Ellie Schmidt (Sr./Denver, Colo./East) added five kills and five digs. Chloe Nelson (Sr./Madison, Wis./ West) added 10 digs while fellow senior Sami Kemper (Sr./Prior Lake, Minn./Prior Lake) claimed four kills in the match.
Michelle Mattke and Sam Greeney-Hamlin led the Piper offensive attack with 16 and 15 kills respectively.
Tonight’s match marked the final collegiate appearance for Carleton senior’s Johnson, Kemper, Nelson and Schmidt.