NORTHFIELD, Minn. – The Carleton College volleyball team dropped its final home match of the 2011 campaign, falling 3-1 to Saint Mary’s University as three of the four sets required extra points. Prior to the contest, the Knights celebrated the two seniors on the roster, Erin Anderson (Bloomington, Minn./Kennedy) and Ailsa McCulloch (Woodside, Calif./Crystal Springs Uplands).
The Knights hoped to send off its seniors with a victory, unfortunately missed opportunities resulted in a fourth straight defeat despite 17 kills from Jessa Youso (Jr./Virginia, Minn./Virginia) and 14 from Claire Willeck (Fy./Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie).
“Tough match tonight. We didn’t capitalize on the chances we had,” said Carleton head coach Heidi Jaynes. “Give credit to Saint Mary’s. They played a great match. When it’s close like that, one or two points make all the difference.”
Carleton led 21-16 in the opening set before watching the Cardinals score five straight points. The Knights had a pair of set points but could not close things out as Saint Mary’s prevailed, 28-26.
The Knights actually out-hit, out-blocked, and out-served the visitors tonight, but the bulk of those margins came during the second set as the hosts rolled to a 25-15 outcome.
Saint Mary’s grabbed the lead early in the third set, only to have Carleton use a 6-0 run to move in front. The back-and-forth set would feature 10 ties and six lead changes. Once again the Knights had set point, but could not close things out as the Cardinals notched the final three points for a 26-24 decision.
The fourth set was played in similar fashion, and unfortunately with a similar result. A late service error by Carleton opened the door, and Saint Mary’s pushed through for another 26-24 score and the victory.
Sarah Nielsen (Jr./Altoona, Wis./Altoona) and Karen Halls (Fy./Edina, Minn./Edina) added 10 kills each for Carleton, which hit .232 for the match. Alicia Flatt (Fy./Walnut Creek, Calif./Carondelet) handed out a season-high 50 assists, while Anderson had a team-best 17 digs.
Kara Grant had 17 kills and 20 digs for Saint Mary’s.
The Knights will close the regular season with a 1 p.m. match at St. Olaf College on Saturday, Oct. 29.