Clarion University’s volleyball team took to the court for the first time this season, splitting their opening tournament right here at Clarion University.
While the games against Cedarville and Hillsdale didn’t go as the Golden Eagles planned, the first day of the tournament saw Clarion going 2 for 2 in their games against Merrimack College and Lake Erie College.
Clarion got things going against Merrimack, but it didn’t look all smooth soaring for the Eagles.
They dropped the first set 25-21.
However, that would prove to be the only real scare Clarion had in that game, as they took the next three sets 25-10, 25-14, and 25-23.
MacKenzie Biggs lead the charge for the Eagles with 12 kills and 3 blocks.
Taylor Braunagel added 11 kills and 3 blocks, while Marissa Robertson chipped in 9 kills and a block.
Lauryn Driscoll gave the Eagles 9 kills, 2 aces, and 4 blocks.
Lake Erie College managed to duplicate Merrimack’s luck in the first set by grinding out a 28-26 win.
After that, it was all Clarion with the scores 25-20, 25-21, and 25-17.
Taylor Braunagel paced 3 other Golden Eagels who hit double figure kills with 13.
Biggs and Olivia Olson added with 12 kills and 11 kills, respectively, while all three girls recorded 3 blocks each.
Julia Holden put up 10 kills for the Eagles in the win.
In talking to Taylor Braunagel, it is clear just what this success means to the team.
She says, “Our mindset entering the tournament was much more positive than it has been in past years. We have a lot of talent in our gym and we have been working very hard to be the most efficient and productive team as possible. Moral was high after winning our games Friday as we showed a level of cohesion that I haven’t really experienced on any other team I have played with. As for the losses on Saturday, we are not in any way discouraged. We feel that the losses we experience expose our weaknesses, and show what we need to work on as a team.”
While the squad has lost three seniors, Braunagel reminds people that, “We have some freshmen that have really stepped up. Our starting 6, and all subs have been a well-rounded mix of the classes.”
This translates to a team that has, “Energy that emanates throughout the classes, positions, and overall social groups. When we get together, we work hard and strive for excellence. Our gym is very process oriented, and we focus a lot on getting better every day. That being the culture of our team dynamic, there is a trust felt from and for everyone on the team that they will do their job and fill their niche.”
Clarion goes back to work this weekend when they take on Finlay University in the first game of Finlay’s tournament. That game is scheduled to start at 10 am Friday.