Cambridge, Mass. – For just the second time ever and the first time since 1990, Clark University pushed MIT to five sets. In the end, however, the Engineers proved to be too strong, outlasting the Cougars 3-2 in New England Women's And Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) volleyball action on Tuesday evening.
Score: MIT 3, Clark University 2
Records: MIT (13-3, 5-0 NEWMAC), Clark (10-6, 2-2 NEWMAC)
Location: Rockwell Cage, Cambridge, Mass.
How It Happened:
In a back-and-forth five-set match, MIT emerged with a 23-25, 25-17, 19-25, 25-11, 16-14 victory over the Cougars, denying them first win over the Engineers in 34 all-time meetings between both programs since the series began in 1990.
With the match tied at 1-1, the Cougars raced out to a 20-9 lead in the third set. The Cardinal and Gray slowly chipped away at the deficit, closing the gap to 22-18 on a Megan Gebhard kill. After trading side outs, kills by Ana Mercado (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) and Rachel Webb (Celina, Texas) secured the win for the visitors.
Despite the third set setback, MIT carried the momentum into the fourth frame as it produced a 25-11 victory.
In the decisive final set, the Engineers held an 8-6 edge at the changeover. However, Clark continued to attack as it tied the score three times, the last at 12 on a kill from Mercado. MIT used kills to reach match point but the Cougars capitalized on a serving error and a kill from Jacqueline Jimenez-Maldonado (San Francisco, Calif.) to even the score at 14. The Engineers then captured the win courtesy of kills by Lisette Tellez and Gebhard.
Marina Ramos (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) looked like her old self, totaling 21 kills and 26 digs – her third match this season and second in a row where she has posted 20 kills or more and 20 digs or more.
Mia Cattaneo (Santa Barbara, Calif.) starred defensively for the Scarlet and White, registering a career-best 43 digs which is the eighth most in a five set match in NCAA Division III this year.
The match also featured what some might call the best two setters in the conference in MIT's Christina Liao and Clark's Webb. Liao finished with 57 helpers and nine digs, while Webb doled out 47 of her own – her third straight match with 40 or more.
Gebhard paced MIT with 17 kills and Tellez tallied 17 digs, 12 kills, and three aces.
Tori Wuthrich (Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.) led the Engineers with 26 digs, followed by 22 from Jennie Glerum (Redmond, Wash.).
Both squads will be hosting tri-matches on Saturday, Oct. 1. MIT will square off with NEWMAC foe Wheaton College at 11:00 a.m. before facing Framingham State University at 3:00 p.m. Clark will do battle with conference rival Mount Holyoke College and then take on Rhode Island College, at 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., respectively.