Worcester, Mass. – Host Clark University won a pair of key volleyball matches on Saturday afternoon topping New England Women's And Men's Athletic Conference rival Babson, 3-1 to open the day and then they registered a thrilling 3-2 win over Amherst College in the nightcap.
After today's action, Clark is 10-5, Babson is 7-5 and Amherst is 7-3.
In the opening match against the Beavers, the first set was a marathon thriller, with the Cougars besting the Green and White 31-29. Clark led 3-0, 14-13 and even 22-18 before Babson went ahead 24-23 on a Shannon Roseen kill. Things went back and forth until Clark closed out the set with consecutive kills from Ana Mercado (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) and Hannah Fox (Dracut, Mass.).
After a marathon first set, the Cougars raced way ahead in the second on their way to a 25-14 victory. The Beavers actually scored the first two points of the set but the Scarlet went on to score 16 of the next 20 points to go ahead 16-6. That lead ballooned to 21-8 before Clark settled for the 11 point victory.
Babson rebounded in the third set, claiming a 25-17 triumph as they took advantage of some uncharacteristically poor hitting from the Scarlet and White.
The fourth and final set was tied at 7-7 when the Cougars went on another run, jumping out to a 20-13 lead following a Mercado kill. The Beavers didn't go away, getting back to even the score at 23-23. Undeterred, the Scarlet and White sealed the match with back-to-back kills from Mercado and Jacqueline Jimenez-Maldonado (San Francisco, Calif.).
Babson was paced by Rossen who racked up 13 kills, while Abby Beecher totaled 23 digs.
"The toughness and togetherness our women play with is what makes them special athletes," said Clark head coach Mickey Cahoon.
In the middle match, Amherst bested the Beavers, 3-2 by game scores of 25-15, 20-25, 25-18, 16-25, 16-14.
The Lord Jeffs' Maggie Danner led the way by hammering down a match-high 19 kills.
With the score tied at 2-2, Amherst jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the fifth and deciding set but the Green and White battled back to knot the score at 14-14. The Lord Jeffs were able to close out the match with the last two points coming on a Danner kill and a Beaver error.
In addition to Danner's big afternoon, the Lord Jeffs got ten kills from Nicole Gould and 20 digs from Hayes Honea. The passing duo of Kate Bres (14) and Charlotte Duran (16) combined to hand out 30 of Amherst's 44 assists.
For Babson, meanwhile, they were paced by Gizem Yilmaz, who racked up 15 kills and Lorraine Mackiewicz, who finished with 14 kills and 16 digs.
Then in the day's final match, it looked as if Clark would go up 2-0 after winning the first set then going ahead 25-24 on a Rachel Webb (Celina, Texas) service ace. That wouldn't be the case however, as the Lord Jeffs got a kill from Marialexa Natsis, a Cougar hitting error and then a Gould service ace to rally for the set victory.
The third set was up for grabs as well but consecutive kills from Mercado evened the score and then three straight hitting errors by Amherst pushed the Cougars to a 2-1 lead.
Amherst wasted little time seizing the control of the fourth set, racing out to a 6-0 lead and they were never really challenged by the Scarlet and White as the forced a fifth set with their 25-12 win.
This time it was Clark to grab the early lead at 4-0 following a Marina Ramos (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) kill.
Amherst didn't go away as both Danner and Natsis put down kills to keep the Lord Jeffs within striking distance. They eventually knotted the set at 9-9 but Clark closed the match by securing six of the final eight points to collect the victory.
The nightcap was filled with incredible performances including a 20-kill, 22-dig effort from Ramos and both Honea from Amherst and Mia Cattaneo (Santa Barbara, Calif.) racked up 32 digs apiece and Clark's Savannah Sanford (San Anselmo, Calif.) collected 19 of her own.
Mercado, meanwhile, finished with 17 kills against Babson, compiled a career-high 19 against the Lord Jeffs while Webb doled out 54 helpers – her fourth career match with 50 or more assists.
"We played an amazing match and to show the poise we did in the fifth set really exemplifies the character of our team," said Cahoon following the Amherst victory.
Both Babson and Clark are back in action on Tuesday. The Beavers host Coast Guard, while the Cougars visit MIT. The Lord Jeffs return to the court on Friday with a home match against Colby.