NORTHFIELD, Minn. – After the Knights dropped the day’s first match in four sets, Claire Willeck (Fy./Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie) tallied 15 kills as the Carleton College volleyball team rallied for a five-set victory over the University of Wisconsin-Stout in the finale of the Carleton Triangular. The Knights (11-7) snapped a five-match losing streak and have now surpassed their win total from the 2010 campaign with four weeks still remaining on the schedule.
During the opener against Buena Vista University, Jessa Youso (Jr./Virginia, Minn.) and Rachel Johnson (So./Woodbury, Minn.) reached double-digits in kills, but the Knights were on the short end of a 3-1 result. This was the third time this season that Carleton had played Buena Vista University, and the first time the Beavers prevailed.
BVU used a 7-0 run early in the opening set to take command and maintained at least a four-point margin the rest of the way to a 25-15 victory. The second game was close initially as Carleton knotted the score at 9-9, but an 11-6 run by Buena Vista gave the visitors the lead, which they carried to a 25-23 decision.
The Knights fell behind in the third set, 4-2, before using a 7-0 spurt to push ahead to stay. That burst included a trio of service aces by Sarah Nielsen (Jr./Altoona, Wis.) as Carleton took the game, 25-22. After another tight start to the final set, Buena Vista used an 11-4 stretch to pull away, 25-17.
Youso had a team-best 16 kills, followed by Johnson with 10 and Nielsen contributed nine to the team total. Carleton hit .124 as a team compared to .214 for BVU. Alicia Flatt (Fy./Walnut Creek, Calif.) collected 38 assists, matching the fourth-best total of her young collegiate career.
The nightcap against UW-Stout was a thriller.
Carleton raced to an 11-4 lead in the opening set and prevailed, 25-18. Tied 10-10 in the second game, the Blue Devils used a 10-2 run and evened things up, 25-17. UW-Stout grab the advantage midway through the third set and prevailed, 25-21.
The fourth set was close throughout, and the Blue Devils built a 23-20. But that’s when Carleton’s front line took over the match.
Johnson notched a kill, followed by three consecutive blocks by Nielsen and Youso against UW-Stout’s Emily Crew. Youso then forced the fifth set with a kill, giving Carleton a 25-23 victory.
The fifth set went back-and forth. The Blue Devils trailed 7-3, before stringing together six consecutive points. Carleton countered with four straight points, including three straight kills by Willeck that moved the Knights in front for good en route to the 15-11 victory.
“We had some ups and downs today with some new faces in the lineup. But the team worked through it and finished with a great five-set win,” said Carleton head coach Heidi Jaynes. “I’m proud of how they fought and were determined to win.
“I thought Becca Hobbs and Erin Anderson played great defense and passed very solidly. Sarah Nielsen and Karen Halls were huge for us in the last match, and the setters did a great job of delivering them the set.”
Carleton has a pair of MIAC home matches next week as the Knights host Macalester College on Wedneday, Oct. 5 and Hamline University on Friday, Oct. 7. Both contests start at 7 p.m. Live video feeds can be seen on Knights Online.