NORTHFIELD, Minn. – More than pride was on the line when the Carleton College volleyball team hosted cross-town rival St. Olaf College in both teams’ regular season finale. Because of the way the season played out, today’s winner would host the loser in the quarterfinal round of the MIAC Playoffs. Despite 11 kills from senior Jessa Youso (Virginia, Minn./Virginia), the Knights suffered a tough 3-0 loss.
Down 9-6 to begin the match, Carleton (17-9, 6-5 MIAC) took the lead with a 9-3 run. From there the Knights made things a bit more difficult for themselves with a dozen service errors, including six in the first game alone. The Oles (11-20, 7-4 MIAC) clawed their way back into the game, winning five straight points to take a 22-19 lead and clinched the first set, 25-23.
Carleton trailed for most of the second game but used a 6-2 run to close the gap to 20-18. Following a St. Olaf timeout, the Oles suddenly won five straight points to take the second set.
Again the Oles took an early lead in third but could not separate themselves from a Carleton squad that climbed out of a 2-game to-0 hole on Wednesday at Saint Mary’s.
Today’s third set featured many long, dramatic rallies, and the Knights used three Chloe Nelson (Jr./Madison, Wis./West) aces to stay close. After falling behind 24-19, Carleton killed the St. Olaf momentum, breaking a match point serve and taking two more points before the Oles ended the game and the match, 25-22.
Sarah Nielsen (Sr./Altoona, Wis./Altoona) added nine more kills for Carleton. Alicia Flatt (So./Walnut Creek, Calif./Carondelet) had 35 of the Knight’s 37 assists, and Camille Benson (Fy./Savage, Minn./Burnsville) paced the team with 20 digs.
Melissa Burch led St. Olaf with 11 kills.
Carleton returns to the MIAC Playoffs for the first time since 2007 and will face the rival Oles on Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 7:00 p.m.