MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The Carleton College volleyball squad won its fifth straight conference match and stay tied for third in the MIAC standings following a 3-1 road win against Augsburg College. The Knights were led by Sarah Nielsen (Sr./Altoona, Wis./Altoona), Karen Halls (So./Edina, Minn./Edina), and Jessa Youso (Sr./Virginia, Minn./Virginia), who had 14, 13, and 11 kills, respectively. Carleton’s (16-6, 5-2 MIAC) five conference victories this year equal its combined total from the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
The Auggies (11-10, 2-4 MIAC) seemed poised to win the opening set as the hosts led 20-13, but Carleton turned the tables by closing the game on a 12-3 run. With the game tied 23-23, Halls and Nielsen struck accounted for back-to-back kills to claim an exciting first set for the Knights.
Carleton carried the momentum over to game two, jumping out to a 9-2 lead in the second set. Thanks in part to five more Nielsen kills, the Knights ran away with the set 25-15. Carleton outplayed Augsburg, hitting .457 with 18 winners.
With the game on the line, Augsburg rallied to begin the third set up 11-4. The Auggies slowly extended their lead to 20-10 and, despite a late Carleton push, eventually closed out the third game 25-18.
The Knights regained both their composure and the lead, as they never trailed in the fourth and final set. Augsburg pulled within 20-17, but Carleton won five of the next seven points, ending the match 25-19 with a definitive Camille Benson (Fy./Savage, Minn./Burnsville) ace.
“It was an awesome and exciting win for us tonight!” commented head coach Heidi Jaynes. “Our front line hit exceptionally well. I’m especially proud of how we came back in the first set after being down 20-13.”
The Knights struck 55 kills on the evening, including nine from Claire Willeck (So./Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie), who joined Nielen, Halls, and Youso in hitting over .300 on the evening.
Benson paced Carleton in digs with 16 and added four aces. Alicia Flatt (So./Walnut Creek, Calif./Carondelet) added 13 digs of her own to go with her 44 assists. Halls also figured in four of the Knights’ seven blocks.
Carleton returns home for two key conference matches next weekend as the Knights host the College of St. Benedict on Friday, Oct. 19 and Concordia College on Saturday, Oct. 20. Both of those team are currently in position for playoff spots.