Clark Sweeps Blue Volleyball In NEWMAC Quarterfinals

Julia Monaco
Julia Monaco

WORCESTER, Mass. – Clark University junior Marina Ramos (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) recorded her 20th double-double of the season to lead the third-seeded Cougars to a 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-14) sweep of sixth-seeded Wellesley College volleyball in the quarterfinals of the New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Volleyball Championship on Tuesday at the Kneller Athletic Center.

Clark, now winners of 16 straight home matches, advances to the NEWMAC semifinals on Saturday, November 5, at 3:30 PM, where they will take on second-seeded Springfield at MIT's Rockwell Cage. The Cougars are now 22-7 on the year, while Wellesley ends their 2016 campaign with a 12-16 overall mark.

Ramos rocked down 12 kills and recorded 10 digs, while sophomore Ana Mercado (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) chipped in with 11 kills, four aces and four blocks. Senior Courtney Pharr (Seattle, Wash.) added six kills, five digs, four aces and three blocks and sophomore setter Rachel Webb (Celina, Texas) totaled 30 assists, as Clark hit .252 on the night. On defense, senior Mia Cattaneo (Santa Barbara, Calif.) tied for match-high honors with 12 digs. 

Wellesley sophomore Yasmine Reece (New Rochelle, N.Y.) had a match-high 13 kills and 12 digs for the Blue, recording her eighth double-double of the year. First year Meghan Shoop (Cypress, Calif.) added eight kills and eight digs on a night where the Blue hit just .078 as a squad. Sophomore setter Michelle Li (Scarsdale, N.Y.) finished the match with 15 assists to finish with 864 on the season. 

An early 4-1 Wellesley advantage in the opening set was quickly erased by Clark, as the Cougars turned the game with a 7-1 run that helped the hosts take an 8-5 advantage. The Clark lead would grow to 14-7, following an ace from Mercado, before the Blue closed the deficit with three-straight points to make the score 14-10. The four-point deficit would be as close as the Blue would get for the rest of the set, as Clark went on to take a 25-17 victory. 

Wellesley erased a 9-3 Clark lead in the second set, rallying to tie the set 16-16 when Reece powered down a kill on an assist from Li. A kill from sophomore Alex Kew (Winchester, Mass.) and an ace from Reece spurred the Blue on to a 19-17 lead, but Clark grabbed momentum back with a 7-1 run to draw within a point of taking the set, at 24-20. The Blue got one back, but a Wellesley error helped Clark go up 2-0 in the match with a 25-21 win. 

The hosts saved their best performance for last, hitting .519 as a squad in a third set rout of the Blue. Clark closed out the match with a 25-14 victory after sprinting to an 18-9 advantage to start the frame. Ramos and Mercado would close out the game with back-to-back kills, as Clark advanced to the NEWMAC semifinals for the second year in-a-row.