MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – The Morrisville State Women's Volleyball team's historic season came to end on Friday evening as the Mustangs feel in three sets to Clarkson University in the opening round of the NCAA Division III National Tournament.
The Mustangs showed their NCAA inexperience early against the veteran national tournament squad, Clarkson University, quickly falling behind 7-14. Morrisville pushed a handful of points behind Sam Wolf's (Liverpool, N.Y.) strong serve. Unfortunately, the Golden Knight's lead was too much to recover from as the Mustangs ultimately fell 15-25 in the first set.
Morrisville gained their footing in the second set, trading points with Clarkson for the first third of the set. Knotted up at 8-8, the Golden Knights began to pull away. A timeout by the Mustangs and a strong serve swing by Megyan Merrill (Millport, N.Y.) began to swing the momentum back into their favor. Morrisville brought the match within one at 16-17 and continued to push the Golden Knights right to the edge, out hitting the hosts .379 to .353.
The Mustangs stayed within striking distance throughout the remainder of the second set. Sophomore Amelia Baratier (Liverpool, N.Y.) and senior Lindsey Sunderlage (Kingston, Ill.) provided kills for the Mustangs' 17th and 19th point respectively and strong serve by Wolf then forced Clarkson into an attack error to bring the Mustangs back within one at 20-21. However, the experience of the Golden Knights shown through again as they regained serve and pushed points to close out the second set victory 25-21.
Morrisville came out strong again in the third set, hanging with the Golden Knights. The momentum began to shift towards Clarkson just after the Mustangs pulled into an 8-8. Morrisville would pick up points, but with each regained serve, Clarkson would put just a little more distance between themselves and the Mustangs. Morrisville would ultimately drop the final set 16-25.
Merrill led the way offensively for the Mustangs recording nine kills, while Baratier tacked on 7. The setting tandem of Helena Hanes (Brockport, Pa.) and Kim Dunkleman (Williamsville, N.Y.) tallied 24 total assists.
Defensively, Wolf posted 16 digs. Sunderlage and Elycia Crittenden (Louisville, Ky.) combined for the team's total of four blocks.
Even though the Mustangs' season comes to a close, the squad established a new bar for the program. In addition to posting a new season best win total, the 2017 season saw many players reach or inch closer to several program milestones. Dunkleman and Hanes each reached 1,000 career assists during their junior seasons, placing them at 1-2 in the program record book. Dunkleman also broke the program record for aces with 128. Merrill is 50 kills shy of breaking the program record for career kills, while Wolf is just 17 digs away from breaking the program record for career digs.
Morrisville State College's curricula are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology and has been lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs.
The college was ranked among the Best Regional Colleges in the North by U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges 2018 issue and was also recognized in the Top Public Schools, Regional Colleges North in the 2018 Best Colleges rankings. For more information about Morrisville State College, visit www.morrisville.edu.