Volleyball set for success following back-to-back sweeps

Clarion’s volleyball team had its first home games in two weeks, and they still felt right where they belonged.

The ladies swept East Stroudsburg University on Friday night, and then they broke out the brooms again for Kutztown Saturday afternoon.

Clarion’s dismantling of East Stroudsburg began with an 8-1 run in game one, and they never even thought of looking back as they won 25-9.

Game two of the series was closer, but Clarion still managed to fly away with a 25-20 game.

Clarion closed out East Stroudsburg with a 25-14 victory.

Clarion’s balanced attack was led by Taylor Braunagel, who had nine kills, a block and an ace.

MacKenzie Biggs added eight kills and three blocks, and Marissa Robertson contributed seven kills and a block to the winners.

Less then 24-hours after cleaning East Stroudsburg out of the gym, Clarion treated Kutztown in a similar fashion.

Clarion snatched game one by a score of 25-15, game two thanks to a 25-13 win and game three with a final score of 25-19.

Clarion dominated in kills, outdoing Kutztown 53-22.

Collecting most of those kills was Braunagel with 15.

She also served up two aces in the contest.

Biggs added 14 kills along with a block.

Lauryn Driscoll broke into double-digit kills with 10, and she pitched in an ace of her own.

After hitting the road since Sept. 3, Clarion definitely felt refreshed coming home.

Braunagel says, “We love playing at home. It’s such a different feel competing with the home court advantage and having some fans to keep the energy high.”

Of course, all this success has only fueled the women’s efforts even more.

Braunagel continued, “We’ve really been working on keeping our energy and momentum high, not only over the span of a game, by also as we continue through conference play.”

With all but one of its remaining scheduling being against PSAC teams, what does that mean for the team’s overall mindset?

“Well, conference play is obviously important for our standing and rankings, so with those we really try to keep our points as tight as possible because they really count. Other games that may be out of our region, like in preseason or like tonight’s game are different because there’s almost less pressure. Those games are really good for exposing our strengths and weaknesses, so we know what to work on when we do play those critical conference games.”

For Clarion’s future success this season, Braunagel says, “I think if we stay cohesive, and everyone knows their roles on the team, then I think we will be successful. Our energy on and off the bench is what makes or breaks us. We need to work on our offense out of receive. Along with that, if we continue to find our way managing the game and keep a fast transitional offense, we will be unstoppable.”

Clarion looks to continue that momentum on Tuesday at Juniata.

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