NORTHFIELD, Minn. – Building on the momentum gained from a win in their final match Friday evening, the Carleton College volleyball team added two victories on Saturday, as the Knights earned match wins over Martin Luther College and Crown College to close out the St. Olaf Invitational. Saturday’s two victories, coupled with a triumph against Bethany Lutheran on Friday, allowed the team to finish the weekend with a 3-1 record during the two-day event. Camille Benson (Jr./Savage, Minn./Burnsville) Karen Halls (Sr./Edina, Minn.) were named to the eight-person All-Tournament team following the tournament. Benson's selection marks the second consecutive year she has earned All-Tournament honors at the event.
Buoyed by a strong service game, and strong play at the net, the Knights opened day two with a convincing three-set win against Martin Luther, as Carleton earned victories of 25-20, 25-13, and 25-11. Carleton closed out the tournament later in the afternoon with another straight-set victory over Crown, 25-11, 25-9, 25-12.
"Overall I was excited with how we played throughout the weekend,” said Carleton head coach Heidi Jaynes. “We have focused and emphasized improvement in our serving over the course of the pre-season and I was impressed with how we performed in that area this weekend. I'm excited that we are 3-1 and am looking forward to some tough competition next week with the match against UW-River Falls on Wednesday, and the Macalester tournament Friday and Saturday.”
In the match against Martin Luther, Carleton recorded 10 aces and hit .326 as a team. Karen Halls (Sr./Edina, Minn./Edina) paced the Knights with 16 kills, four solo blocks, and two aces while hitting .583 in the match. Claire Willeck (Sr./Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie) added eight kills and two aces, while the Carleton setting tandem of Caroline Duke (So./Evanston, Ill./Evanston) and Alicia Flatt (Sr./Walnut Creek, Calif./Carondelet) tallied 16 and 14 assists respectively. Defensive specialist Camille Benson (Jr./Savage, Minn./Burnsville) claimed a match-best 19 digs and added two aces.
In the afternoon match, Carleton continued to excel in the service game, as the Knights recorded 18 aces in a three-set sweep over Crown. As a team, Carleton recorded a .342 hitting percentage in a match where 14 different Knights saw action.
Rachel Womack (Sr./St. Paul, Minn./Highland Park) paced the Carleton offensive attack as she claimed seven kills and two blocks (one solo). Liz Groesbeck (Sr./Henderson, Nev./Green Valley) recorded a team-best eight aces to go along with nine digs, while setter Samantha Chao (Jr./Skokie, Ill./Niles Township West) added 13 assists and four aces in the contest.
The Knights will be busy again next week with five road matches, including a match against the University of Wisconsin-River Falls on Wednesday, followed by a trip to St. Paul, Minn. on Friday and Saturday to participate in the Macalester College Invitational. Carleton will face the University of Wisconsin-Stout and the University of Minnesota-Morris Friday evening, before playing Beloit College on Saturday.