Worcester, Mass. – In a matchup of teams that faced each other in last season's New England Women's And Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) tournament quarterfinals, it was again Clark coming out on top, this time 3-0, over Wellesley College in a highly-anticipated volleyball showdown Tuesday evening.
Score: Clark University 3, Wellesley College 0 (30-28, 25-19, 25-21)
Records: Clark University 14-7 (4-3 NEWMAC); Wellesley College 11-8 (4-3 NEWMAC)
Location: Kneller Athletic Center, Worcester, Mass.
How It Happened:
The first set was the hardest-fought by the two teams. It didn't look like it would be from the start as Clark raced out to an early 6-0 lead but the Blue fought back and actually went ahead 14-11 as Samantha Hoang registered a service ace. Clark came back and eventually tied the set at 19-19 following an Ana Mercado (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) kill.
The set was tied four more times but Wellesley was able to move ahead 28-27 on a service error by Clark. The Cougars went on to score the final three points of the set with a Marina Ramos (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) kill and two Blue hitting errors to give the Scarlet and White a 30-28 victory.
In the second set, Clark was again out to a huge early lead, jumping ahead 12-3 as kills from Jacqueline Jimenez-Maldonado (San Francisco, Calif.) Mercado, Ramos and Courtney Pharr (Seattle, Wash.) had the Cougar offense clicking.
That lead ballooned to 19-5 as Mercado doled out some service aces and Hannah Fox (Dracut, Mass.) got in on the act.
Amazingly, the Blue roared back, registering 12 straight points as Michelle Li, Ashley Peng and Samantha Ostenso led the way, bringing the score to 19-17.
The Cougars cut the rally short by getting two more kills from Ramos and a few more Wellesley hitting errors to secure the 25-19 victory.
In the third set, the match tight for most of the time, with neither team going ahead by more than three points until Clark turned their 17-14 edge into a 21-16 courtesy of alternating kills from Jimenez-Maldonado and Mercado.
Wellesley tightened the gap at 21-19 again but in the end, the Cougars got the final two kills of the match from Ramos to seal the crucial league victory.
"This was an important match for us as we compete for a spot in the NEWMAC playoffs," said Clark head coach Mickey Cahoon.
Inside The Numbers:
Ramos went over the 1,000 dig mark for the Cougars in the victory and now has 1,015 for her career. Incredibly, Savannah Sanford (San Anselmo, Calif.) came close to eclipsing that milestone tonight as well. She registered seven digs in the match, leaving her with 999 for her career.
Ramos finished with 16 kills and 18 digs, but the two-headed combination of Jimenez-Maldonado and Mercado added 20 kills, while Rachel Webb (Celina, Texas) dished out 39 helpers.
For Wellesley, meanwhile, they were paced by Peng's ten kills and Hoang's match-best 26 digs and Li's seven kills, 26 assists and seven digs.
Clark's victory tonight, coupled with Coast Guard's 3-1 win over Wheaton, puts them in a four way tie for fourth place at 4-3 in league action with WPI, Coast Guard and Wellesley.
Clark is back in action on Saturday with a non-league road contest at Connecticut College. The Blue, meanwhile, will begin a busy weekend of action with a home contest against Ithaca.