POTSDAM, N.Y. -- Junior Lauren Gedney (Huntersville, N.C.) tallied a match-high 17 kills but Wellesley College volleyball dropped a 3-1 (25-23, 15-25, 25-13, 25-16) final to Clarkson University in the Second Round of the 2019 NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship at Alumni Gymnasium.
Clarkson improves to 27-5 overall and advances to face second-seeded Ithaca in the Potsdam Regional Final on Sunday, November 17, at 1:00 PM. Ithaca topped Wesleyan (Conn.), 3-2, in Saturday's first semifinal. The Blue end the season with a 23-6 overall record and are now 19-15 all-time in NCAA Championship play.
First year Kristin Werdine (Tampa, Fla.) had 14 kills and 12 digs to lead the Golden Knights. Senior Rachel Reusch (Buffalo, N.Y.) added 11 kills on 29 attempts (.310) while also totaling 10 total blocks. Senior libero Kate Isaksen (Glenville, N.Y.) led all players with a match-high 27 digs, while sophomore Celestial Barrera-Lopez (Denver, Colo.) added 19 and first year Isabelle Crow (Tipp City, Ohio) chipped in 10. Crow also dished out a team-high 39 assists.
Sophomore Nicole Doerges (San Marino, Calif.) added 16 kills and 15 digs for the Blue, hitting .248 on 48 attempts. Senior libero Meghan Shoop (Cypress, Calif.) tallied a team-high 20 digs in her final collegiate game, while junior Nikki Jensen (Castro Valley, Calif.) added seven kills and 12 digs. Sophomore setter Izzy Seebold (Concord, N.C.) tallied 39 assists and 15 digs for the Blue.
Clarkson outlasted the Blue to take a 25-23 victory in the first set. The Blue finished the opening set with a 15-13 advantage in kills but the Golden Knights used a 7-1 run to erase a 21-17 deficit late in the set to take a 1-0 lead in the match. A kill from Jensen helped the Blue hold-off set point, 24-23, but Crow put the set away with a kill from Isaksen that ended the opener.
Wellesley responded with a big 25-15 second set victory to tie the match at 1-1. Leading 11-10, the Blue reeled off a 9-2 run, taking a commanding 20-12 lead following a kill by Gedney. The Golden Knights could only cut the deficit to eight over the final eight points in the match, at 20-13 and 23-15, as back-to-back kills from Doerges ended the frame in favor of the Blue. Wellesley hit .245 with just four errors in the second set.
The Golden Knights never trailed in a 25-13 third set victory, moving ahead in the match, 2-1. Clarkson jumped to an 11-4 lead following a kill from Maddie Bredehoeft (Centennial, Colo.). The hosts would extend the lead to 21-11 before the Blue scored back-to-back points on Clarkson errors cut the deficit to eight, 21-13. However, Clarkson rallied to score the final four points in the frame to close out the set.
Clarkson took a 6-4 lead at the start of the fourth set, but a 4-0 Wellesley run, capped by back-to-back aces from Jensen put the Blue ahead 8-6 and forced a Clarkson timeout. The Golden Knights responded after the break, using a 6-1 run to take a 12-9 lead, as this time Wellesley used its first timeout. From there, the Golden Knight took control, extending the lead to 16-10 and 20-14 before a Clarkson ace put the Blue on the brink, 24-14. The Blue held off back-to-back match points but the match ended on a Wellesley error, 25-16.
Sunday's regional championship winner will advance to the NCAA Division III Quarterfinals, November 21-23, 2019, at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.Nicole Doerges was named to the NCAA DIII Potsdam, N.Y. Regional All-Tournament team following the conclusion of regional play on Sunday.
- Wellesley is now 19-14 all-time in NCAA Division III Championship play
- Nicole Doerges was named to the NCAA DIII Potsdam, N.Y. Regional All-Tournament team following the conclusion of regional play on Sunday