Clarion Volleyball Advances in NCAA Tournament After 3-1 Win Over Edinboro

Clarion1 1WHEELING, W.Va. – The Clarion volleyball team bounced back from a first set loss to win three straight sets against Edinboro to win 3-1 (23-25, 25-11, 25-21, 25-23) to advance to the Round of 32 in the 2015 NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional.

The Golden Eagles (22-16) will face the winner of Wheeling Jesuit and Winston-Salem State on Friday, Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m.

Mackenzie Biggs and Gabrielle Olson had a field day offensively against the Fighting Scots, hitting .419 and .400 respectively. Biggs finished with a team-high 16 kills and committing just three errors on 31 swings while Olson added 12 kills and committed just two errors. Four Golden Eagles finished with double-digit digs totals, including a match-high 16 for Morgan Seybold, as Clarion held Edinboro to just a .134 hitting percentage in the match. The Golden Eagles finished with 13.0 total team blocks.

The biggest point of success came on the serve, with Clarion holding the serve for long periods over the course of the match. Catherine Ferragonio and Abbey Cox were at their strongest in that sense, with Cox ripping five aces and Ferragonio contributing 12 digs on spectacular defensive plays.

The Golden Eagles began the first set on a 4-0 run, with Biggs and Taylor Braunagel bouncing kills to cap the early burst of momentum. The Fighting Scots pulled it to within 10-8 after a pair of kills from Challen Litwiler. Biggs blocked an Edinboro attack to put her team ahead 13-10 and then rolled a kill from the right side to bump the advantage to four points and force the Fighting Scots into their first timeout. Edinboro tied it at 15 on a kill and took the lead on the next point after a kill by Sydney Trathen, but Clarion tied it at 18 after an Edinboro attack error. The Fighting Scots pulled away, though, and held on for a 25-23 decision in the set.

Clarion jumped out to a lead in the second set as well, going ahead 7-4 after Litwiler tipped a ball past the back line. Olson made it 9-5 after she tipped one off a back row defender and the Golden Eagles won the race to 10 after the Fighting Scots committed a double-contact. Olson was there again to push her team forward, blocking Megan Screptock to make it a 13-7 score. Cox smashed one off the block to make it 15-9 and Cox made it 20-11 after a service ace. She notched two more in the Golden Eagles’ run to make it 23-11 and Litwiler mishit a ball on set point as the Golden Eagles knotted the match up at 1-1.

Edinboro opened the third set on a 4-1 run but the Golden Eagles tied it at 4-4 with a kill by Biggs, and Olson broke the tie on the next point with a kill of her own. Biggs and Olson combined for a block of Screptock to make it 6-4 and force the Fighting Scots into a timeout. That duo stepped up for another block a few points later as the lead ballooned to five points during the 8-0 run. The Fighting Scots pulled to within 14-12 but a service error put the Golden Eagles back in the driver’s seat. Kaley Pittsley glanced an ace off Screptock to make it 16-12, and Olson and Maurissa Robertson recorded a block to make it 17-13. The Fighting Scots came back and made it 21-19, but the Golden Eagles held on for the 25-21 win.

The Golden Eagles opened the fourth set on an 8-3 run, and Clarion won the race to 10 points after a kill by Robertson. Cox notched two more aces to put her team ahead 13-6 and Biggs made it 18-12 with a kill. The Fighting Scots cut the lead to just three points, but Robertson and Cox blocked Victoria Severo and Morgan Herold aced Litwiler to make it 21-16. Edinboro roared back and took a 23-22 lead but Cox tied it on the next point with a kill. Pittsley and Olson forced match point with a block and Braunagel punched the match-winner over the net to close the set at 25-23 and the match at 3-1.

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