by Tyler Oehmen
Clarke University's women's volleyball team advanced to the MCC semifinals Saturday night with a three-set win over William Penn University. The Statesmen kept each set tight but eventually fell 25-19, 25-23, 25-23. Clarke overcame their MCC quarterfinals demons after losing in the match the past two seasons while also improving their school record in wins to 31.
Clarke started out behind in the first set, but worked it back to a tie game. The teams kept pace with each other until Clarke broke a 14-14 tie and never relinquished the lead. During the second set, led by five early and later had a 19-15 lead late in the game. Clarke then tied the game up at 19 and again at 23 then won the next two points on kills from Allison Pasker to win it.
In the third set, William Penn again took an early lead and had the Crusaders attempting to battle back. The game remained tight and Clarke sided out five consecutive times on five straight kills. With the Crusaders leading 24-22, Emily Wineinger thought she had her match-leading 13th kill of the night and the Crusaders thought they had won win a Wineinger attack appeared to ricochet of a William Penn player but was ruled out. Chris Miron took a timeout to let his team regroup, after which the Crusaders won on Allison Roth's fourth kill of the night. Roth, went a perfect 4-for-4 to get a rare four-kill night as a setter.
The Crusaders were led offensively by Wineinger and Allison Pasker with 12 and 10 kills respectively. In addition, Amanda Raschke added eight and Elle Kosciuk added six. Pasker (.300) and Raschke (.353) led Clarke in attack percentage. Roth and Corrin Larkin both had good setting nights and finished with 19 and 16 respectively. Karrington Bell earned Clarke's lone service ace on the evening.
Defensively, Meagan Franklin led with 12 digs. Molly Bender collected eight, Roth finished with seven, and Wineinger added five of her own.
Clarke plays at Viterbo University in La Crosse Wis. at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night in the MCC semifinals. Viterbo defeated AIB College of Business 25-15, 25-11, 25-10 also on Saturday night to advance. This season, Clarke is 0-2 against Viterbo, losing in five at the Ashford tournament and three in La Crosse.