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Knights volleyball loses heartbreaker

In a hotly contested match that could have gone either way, the Carleton College volleyball team (17-3, 5-3 MIAC) came up just short this Wednesday, losing a close one to the College of Saint Benedict 3-2 (25-30, 30-25, 22-30, 30-27, 8-15) at Claire Lynch Hall. The Knights have now lost consecutive conference matches, and dropped into a tie for fifth in the MIAC. Nevertheless, the ladies have only lost three matches all season, and are still ranked 20th in the latest Division III national poll despite their recent woes.

The Knights trailed the first game wire to wire, trimming the deficit to one point on numerous occasions but never coming up with the big play they needed to take control against the Blazers (19-7, 7-1 MIAC). The Knights have now lost three out of their last four opening games, and starting strong seems to be a confounding problem for this skilled team. Carleton managed to turn it around in the second, and used a late 11-3 run to take the game and tie the match at 1-1. Just as it looked like the Knights had all the momentum, the Blazers opened up game three on a 7-0 run, and eventually prevailed 30-22. Down 2-1 and needing a win to force a winner-take-all fifth game, the Knights relentlessly battled back and took the fourth game 30-27. The Knights had the momentum again, and at 5-5 in the fifth game, the victory was there for the taking. However, the Blazers made plays with the game on the line, and closed it out with a 10-3 run, securing the 15-8 victory.

Captain Heather La Chapelle ’08 played a superb match, establishing a new career best with 61 assists, only six off the school record. Fellow captain Samantha Hendricks ’08 led the Knights with 20 kills, and had a game-high .366 attack percentage. Sophomore middle hitter Annie Eckhoff tallied 17 kills and eight blocks, and Sarah Kunelius ’09 added 15 kills for the Knights. Sophomore Laura Barsness led the defense with 29 digs, and made a number of acrobatic saves to keep the Knights in the game. The Knights will face another formidable opponent when they continue their recent road swing this Saturday, October 20th, taking on the No. 17 Cobbers of Concordia College-Moorhead (14-5, 6-1).

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