WORCESTER, Mass. – Junior Yasmine Reece (New Rochelle, N.Y.) had a career night, hitting .552 with 35 kills, 10 digs, and three total blocks to lead Wellesley College volleyball to a thrilling 3-2 (32-34, 26-24, 16-25, 25-18, 15-13) victory over Clark University in a back-and-forth battle on Tuesday at the Kneller Athletic Center.
Wellesley, now riding a nine-match win streak, improves to 11-3 overall and 7-0 in NEWMAC play. Clark drops to 9-7 overall and 3-3 in conference matches.
Reece paced the Blue, finishing with a career-high 35 of Wellesley's 75 kills. First year Lauren Gedney (Huntersville, N.C.) finished with 20 kills and now has a team-high 180 on the season. Junior Setter Michelle Li (Scarsdale, N.Y.) established a new career-high with 61 assists, breaking her previous mark of 50 from Wellesley's last match. Junior Samantha Hoang (Elk Grove, Calif.) recorded a season-high 26 digs, while Li chipped in with eight and junior Ashley Peng (San Diego, Calif.) had seven.
Clark senior Marina Ramos (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) and junior Ana Mercado (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) combined for 43 kills in the setback. Ramos also collected 20 digs, finishing three behind senior Jacqueline Jimenez-Maldonado (San Francisco, Calif.), who amassed a team-high 23. Mercado also tallied 13 digs in the setback. First year setter Sophia Torino (Los Angeles, Calif.) matched Li with 61 assists, also a career-high.
The Cougars got the upper hand at the end of a marathon first set, taking a 1-0 lead in the match with a 34-32 victory when a kill from Kendra Campbell (North Kingstown, R.I.) sealed a first set victory. The teams played past the 25-point plateau again in the second game, but this time it was Wellesley that found the late edge, as back-to-back kills from Reece and sophomore Bella Virgilio (Malvern, Pa.) broke a 24-24 tie to give the Blue a 26-24 victory.
Clark hit a match-high .455 in the third set, racing out to an early 9-3 lead before jumping ahead 20-14 later in the set following a kill from Jimenez-Maldonado. The Cougars went on to score five of the next six points, taking a 2-1 lead in the match with a 25-16 win. However, Wellesley responded in the fourth set, hitting .308 as a squad to earn a 25-18 win and force a deciding fifth set.
The Blue fell behind in the final set, as Clark had an 8-6 advantage when the teams switched sides midway through the frame. Clark held the two-point edge for two points after the switch, but back-to-back kills from Reece tied the match, 9-9. The teams then played to ties of 11-11 and 12-12 before Wellesley got a kill from Li to take a 13-12 edge. Back-to-back Clark errors on either side of a kill from Jimenez-Maldonado then earned the Blue the 15-13 set win and the 3-2 match win.
Wellesley will travel to UMass.-Boston for their next match on Friday, October 6, at 6:00 PM. Clark will play at Anna Maria on Thursday, October 5, at 7:00 PM.