Clarion Volleyball Sweeps Pair to Close Out Stay in Indy

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Clarion volleyball team wrapped up a successful tournament weekend for the second week in a row, capping a 3-1 stay at the UIndy Invitational with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-21) win over Saginaw Valley and a 3-1 (25-20, 25-22, 24-26, 25-16) victory over Stonehill.  The Golden Eagles (6-2) will return to action next week at a tournament hosted by Wheeling Jesuit and West Liberty.


The offense was on point in both matches on Saturday, with four or more players recording double-digit kills in both matches and the team posting a cumulative .260 hitting percentage over seven sets.  Taylor Braunagel led the way with 26 total kills over the two matches, while Julia Holden and Olivia Olson added 25 apiece and Lauryn Driscoll had 23 kills through two.  Leah Vensel combined for 75 assists in two matches as Clarion only dropped one set.


Defensively the Golden Eagles were also solid, posting 10.0 team blocks against Stonehill in the nightcap and averaging 17.00 digs per set on the evening.  Catherine Ferragonio totaled 32 digs through two matches and Olivia Olson totaled nine total blocks.


Though all three sets against the Cardinals were close, the Golden Eagles were able to persevere and close them out in only three games.  Clarion trailed 18-15 late in the first set against Saginaw Valley but authored an impressive rally, with Driscoll tying the set at 19-19 with a kill and Holden bouncing one on the next point to cap the 5-1 rally and give her team the lead.  The Golden Eagles scored five of the next eight points to win, as a series of errors by Saginaw Valley gave them the one-set lead.


Saginaw Valley’s advantage was even greater in the second set, as they led 15-9 at one point before the Golden Eagle recovery.  Holden smashed the equalizer late in the set to tie it at 21, and an error by Emily Friesl gave Clarion the lead for good in the set.  Holden and Olson combined for a block of McKenzie Schuster to score set point and to give Clarion a 2-0 match lead.  No such rally was needed in the third as Clarion opened up a 22-17 lead and closed the match on a kill by Holden to take it 25-21.


The Golden Eagles won the first two sets against the Skyhawks as well, starting by pulling away late in the first set to take the match lead.  The score was just 19-17 in Clarion’s favor before a crucial kill by Driscoll, who then teamed with Vensel for a block to make it a 22-17 advantage minutes later.  Holden notched the set point with a kill at 25-20.  They pulled away late in the second set as well, stretching what was an 18-16 advantage and going ahead 24-20 on a kill by Olson.  Olson notched another of her team-high 15 kills to close the second set, putting her team ahead 2-0 in the match.


The Skyhawks won a tight third set, but the Golden Eagles wasted no time putting them down in the fourth, going on a 10-3 run midway through the set to put the outcome out of question.  Christina Cotton’s served proved tough for the Skyhawks to handle as Driscoll and Braunagel each recorded kills to make it 24-16, and Cotton served up an ace for match point.