NORTHFIELD, Minn.— Rachel Johnson (Sr./Woodbury, Minn./Woodbury) claimed a match-best 11 kills and Caroline Duke (Fy./Evanston, Ill./Evanston) contributed 15 assists, nine digs and seven kills to lead the Carleton College volleyball team to a straight set victory over St. Olaf College in Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action Saturday afternoon at West Gym. The Knights topped the Oles in three sets, 25-20, 26-24, 25-17.
Both teams played even through the first portion of the first set, as a kill by Claire Willeck (Jr./Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie) tied the score at 14-14. The two teams continued to trade points until a kill by Duke gave the Knights a 20-19 lead late in the set. Carleton would go on to score five of the final six points of the set to earn a 25-20 win and early match lead.
St. Olaf fought back in the second set and seemed poised to even the match score as they held a set-point opportunity and five-point lead at 24-19. Carleton would not go quietly however, as kills from Karen Halls (Jr./Edina, Minn./Edina) and Ellie Schmidt (Sr./Denver, Colo./East), coupled with five St. Olaf attack errors allowed the Knights to earn a thrilling 26-24 set win.
Carleton used the momentum to build a 24-12 lead in the third set. The Oles used a 6-0 run to pull within seven at 24-17, but the Knights were not to be denied, as a kill from Halls gave Carleton a 25-17 set win and match victory.
“What an awesome win for our team” stated Carleton head coach Heidi Jaynes. “I'm so proud of the way we fought today. The confidence and pure guts that we showed in coming back from 19-24 in the second set to win was the ultimate momentum boost we needed to take the third set. It was also so cool that all four of our seniors were huge factors in our win today.”
Camille Benson (So./Savage, Minn./Burnsville) paced the Knights defense with a match-best 20 digs, while teammate Alicia Flatt (Jr./Walnut Creek, Calif./Carondelet) added a team-high 20 assists and 11 digs. Halls added seven kills and a team-high four blocks, while Willeck recorded six kills and a block.
Molly Nelson led the St. Olaf offensive attack with seven kills.
Carleton will return to West Gym again this Wednesday, as they host the University of Wisconsin-River Falls at 7 p.m. Knights Online will carry a live audio and video feed of the match.