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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Volleyball continues to test opponents

<roved challenging for the Lady Knights, as they first took on national No. 20 Concordia College and, for only the second true home match of their season, Augsburg College. The team suffered devastating losses in both matches but continues to show promise in its challenging conference.

The Knights started off the Concordia match strongly. They held their own in the first, fighting for the draw at 24-24, only to be overcome with two swift kills by the Cobbers’ powerhouse offense. As they moved into the second set, head coach Heidi Jaynes decided to mix up the line-up, moving in Maddy Lenhard ‘11 to set. Lenhard proved she was up for the challenge, putting up a season-high 10 assists for the match.

Though the Knights eventually fell in three sets (24-26, 22-25, 13-25), they continued their season-long dominance in blocks. Carleton is currently ranked first in the conference, averaging 2.95 blocks per set. Against the Cobbers, hitters Kyla Walter ‘11 and Kelly Lovett ‘11 posted two and three, respectively.

Despite this tough loss on the road, the Knights were thrilled to finally play at home after being displaced for the past two weeks due to flooding. Wednesday night they hosted the Auggies in a packed Cowling Gymnasium, their new home for the rest of the 2010 season.  

The Knights came out strong in the first set, winning decisively 25-17, but struggled to find their rhythm in the second where they fell 23-25.  Nevertheless they kept the fans on their toes as they fought for a win in the third. The team’s morale was high after winning their first set of the week. They struggled to close out the set, but when libero Erin Anderson ’12 saved a crucial point at 24-25, they took advantage. Great footwork from setter Beth Jarrett ‘11 and two solid serves from Lenhard clinched the set.

The fourth continued the Knight’s competitive streak. Sami Kemper ‘14 topped off her strong game with a hitting percentage of .303, second only to Walter who dominated in the fourth with seven kills. Coupled with the continued dominance of Lovett, the team threw all they had at the Auggies. They were unable to finish it off, however, due to consistent blocks from Augsburg and were forced to a fifth.

Middle hitter Sarah Nielson ‘13 started this final set off with two solid kills, but the relentless Auggie offensive could not be stopped. The final score came to 2-3 (25-17, 23-25, 32-30, 15-10).

The MIAC is one of the toughest conferences in the country for volleyball. While most send only one team to the NCAA tournament, the MIAC frequently sends as many as five or six. This makes for interesting play during the season. Any team can win on any given night.  “Even though out record doesn’t always show our strength on the court,” says Lenhard, “we’ve played many close matches with top-25 teams. A few points here or there, and the match would have been ours.” 

The Knights hope to turn things in their favor as they play two home games next week after a break over the weekend. Join them next Wednesday as they take on Hamline University at 7 p.m. in Cowling for what should prove to be another exciting match.

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