Clarion University Volleyball Splits Pair of Five-Setters on First Day at Atlantic Region Crossover
WHEELING, W.Va. – The Golden Eagle volleyball team opened action at the Atlantic Region Crossover on Friday afternoon, falling 3-2 (25-21, 25-23, 21-25, 13-25, 18-20) to Wheeling in the early match before overcoming Fairmont State 3-2 (23-25, 25-13, 16-25, 26-24, 15-10) in the nightcap.
The Golden Eagles jumped out to a 2-0 lead on the Cardinals in the opening match of the day, but they were unable to hold on in falling 3-2 to Wheeling in a five-set nailbiter. All but one of the sets were decided by fewer than five points, and the last set was a back-and-forth battle, as neither team could stake themselves to a two-point lead until the Cardinals scored three straight to close.
Clarion hit a respectable .222 through the five-setter, including hitting .340 or better in each of the first two sets of the match. Cassidy Snider had a match-high 19 kills, while Amy Regrut was the most efficient hitter, recording a .393 attack percentage with 13 kills. Julia Piccolino added 17 kills and Lauren Aichinger contributed 13 kills, to go with three total blocks.
Abigail Selfridge finished with a team-high 28 digs, while Piccolino added a double-double by notching 10 digs herself. London Fuller had a double-double with 64 assists and 13 digs.
The Golden Eagles took a 13-9 lead in the first set, and despite a short run by the Cardinals that briefly put them ahead, Clarion ultimately took the first game. Snider broke a 19-all tie with a kill, and Regrut and Annie Koester recorded kills to make it 22-20. Aichinger closed out the first set for Clarion with a solo block on Aly Finch, stuffing a shot to make it 25-21. The second set was tight throughout, though back-to-back kills from Aichinger and Piccolino put the Golden Eagles up 22-20. A bad set by Wheeling forced set point, and Koester delivered set point with a kill at 25-23.
The Cardinals stormed back in the next two sets, including a dominating win in the fourth set to force a fifth game between the teams. Clarion held set point a couple times, including at 17-16 after a block by Aichinger, but Wheeling ultimately pulled away for the 20-18 win.
FAIRMONT STATE RECAP
It was another five-setter for the Golden Eagles in Wheeling, but this time Clarion came out on top as they defeated the Falcons 3-2 in the nightcap. Each team won a close contest and a runaway in the first four sets, but it was the Golden Eagles who took a fifth set win to clinch the match.
Piccolino went off for the Golden Eagles with a match-high 24 kills, with the outside hitter recording a .339 attack percentage while also popping up 14 digs. Aichinger and Snider also added 13 kills apiece. Abigail Selfridge posted a team-high 26 digs, while Piccolino finished with her second double-double of the day.
Fairmont State pulled out a close one in the first set, scoring four straight at one point to pull ahead 22-20. Emma Ludwig made it 24-22 with a kill, and Julia DiPaola clinched the first set with a kill at 25-23. The Golden Eagles countered in the second set with a big early run, scoring seven straight points to pull ahead 15-7. That run included three kills by Piccolino and a key block by Regrut. Clarion added another 7-0 run that was bookended by kills from Piccolino to make it 22-9, and they cruised to the set win to tie the match.
It was the Falcons’ turn to cruise to a set win in the third, as they took an early lead and won the game 25-16 to take a 2-1 lead in the match. Almost as scripted, Clarion won a nailbiter in the fourth set, breaking a 24-24 tie to force a fifth set. Koester and Aichinger put their team ahead with a block to make it 25-24, and Aichinger added a kill on set point to send it to the tiebreaking set.
Clarion scored the first six points of the fifth set to build a nearly insurmountable lead, as Cambron Hampton added an ace and Piccolino added kills on four of the first six points. The latter forced set point at 14-8 with a kill, and an error by the Falcons wrapped the set and match win.
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