SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The Carleton College volleyball team opened up play with a 1-1 record on day one at the Macalester College Volleyball Invitational Friday evening. The Knights opened the event with a four-set loss to the University of Wisconsin-Stout, 8-25, 25-14, 26-24, 25-17, before closing out the day with a three-set win over the University of Minnesota-Morris, 25-18, 25-23, 25-16.
In an early season rematch against the Blue Devils (4-0), Carleton (5-2) came out on fire en route to a 25-8 win in the first set. The Knights couldn’t carry the momentum into the second set, as Wisconsin-Stout responded with a 25-14 win to square the match at 1-1. The third set featured a back and fourth battle between the two teams before the Blue Devils eventually prevailed by a score of 26-24. Stout closed the match out with a 25-17 win in the fourth and final set to seal the victory. Friday’s contest marked the second time the two teams have faced off this season, after the Blue Devils edged Carleton in the opening match of the St. Olaf Invite last Friday.
Carleton quickly responded in their second match of the day, as the team claimed a three-set sweep over the University of Minnesota-Morris (3-1). The Cougars, who were picked to finish second in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference pre-season coaches poll, never led in the first set, as Carleton led wire-to-wire en route to a 25-18 victory. The Knights gained an early lead in the second set and were able to fight off a late charge by Morris to earn a 25-23 win. Carleton closed out the match with a comfortable 25-16 win to earn their fourth three-set sweep of the season.
“We struggled to find consistency in our first match, but did a great job of regrouping to come away with a hard fought wing in our second match against Minnesota-Morris,” stated Carleton head coach Heidi Jaynes. “We played some outstanding tonight, and were led by Camille Benson, Liz Groesbeck and Ashley Shin in the back.”
Caroline Duke (So./Evanston, Ill./Evanston) handed out 18 assists to go along with a team-high eight kills to lead the Carleton offensive attack against Wisconsin-Stout, while Karen Halls (Sr./Edina, Minn./Edina) tallied seven kills and six blocks. As a team, the Knights claimed an 11-4 advantage in service aces, but only managed to hit .049 in the match. Camille Benson (Savage, Minn./Burnsville HS) led all participants with 26 digs in the match.
Halls claimed a team-high nine kills against Morris, while teammate Lucy Stevens (Fy./Portland, Ore./Oregon Episcopal School) added seven and two blocks. Lexi Papke (Jr./Strum, Wis./Regis) and Claire Willeck (Sr./Eden Prairie, Minn.) added five kills each, while setter Alicia Flatt (Sr./Walnut Creek, Calif./Carondelet) claimed a match-best 15 assists. Benson added 23 digs and two aces in the match.
The Knights will close out play at the Macalester Invitational with a lone match Saturday at 12 p.m. against Beloit College.