Cambridge, Mass. – Top-seeded MIT received a monster effort from Tournament MVP Megan Gebhard and the Engineers took home the program's fifth New England Women's And Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) volleyball tournament crown with a 3-1 win over Clark University on Sunday evening.
The Cougars, who were playing in their second consecutive tournament championship match, sees their 11 match winning streak come to an end and must now await word on one of the at-large bids into the NCAA Tournament. That announcement will come on Monday afternoon during the annual selection show at 12:30 p.m.
Score: MIT 3, Clark University 1 (25-14, 17-25, 25-16, 25-17)
Records: MIT 28-4; Clark University 23-8
Location: Rockwell Cage, Cambridge, Mass.
How It Happened:
MIT raced out to an early 6-2 edge before Clark got its legs under itself. Once that happened, the Cougars were able to get to within one at 8-7 as both Hannah Fox (Dracut, Mass.) and Ana Mercado (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) each put down kills.
Undeterred, the Engineers ran off 13 of the next 19 points to take a 21-13 lead on their way to a 25-14 opening set win.
Clark responded in the second set, hitting .257 with just one attack error enroute to the 25-17 victory. The set was actually tied at 10-10 as the Scarlet and White took advantage of a kill from Marina Ramos (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) and a block from Rachel Webb (Celina, Texas) and Courtney Pharr (Seattle, Wash.).
As the set went on, the Cougars got kills from Fox, Mercado, Ramos and Jacqueline Jimenez-Maldonado (San Francisco, Calif.) to secure the 25-17 win.
The all-important third set went to the Engineers as they bounced back from an off second set to claim the win. They only finished with eight kills in the frame but were aided by an uncharacteristically poor hitting set from Clark. The Cougars committed ten attack errors in that set alone and the hosts took advantage with the 25-16 triumph.
The final frame was a back-and-forth affair as there were seven ties and two lead changes. Knotted at 13, MIT put together an 8-2 run that was capped by a Gebhard kill. Strikes from Jimenez-Maldonado and Ramos trimmed the deficit to 21-17, however, Gebhard generated the final four kills to clinch the title.
Inside The Numbers:
Mercado finished with a team-best 16 kills for Clark, who also got 12 kills and 15 digs from Ramos. Mia Cattaneo (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Savannah Sanford (San Anselmo, Calif.) helped the Cougars defensively, turning in 22 and 18 digs respectively.
Webb, meanwhile, registered her second straight double-double, ending with 37 assists and 11 digs.