Hoboken, N.J. – The historic Clark University volleyball season came to an end on Saturday afternoon as the Cougars fell in the NCAA Tournament Regional Semifinal to host Stevens Institute of Technology, 3-0 (16-25, 22-25, 28-30) at Canavan Arena.
The Ducks, who entered the match as one of a few teams receiving votes in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) national poll, advance to the regional final, which will be played on their home court on Sunday against Eastern.
For the Scarlet and White, meanwhile, their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament came in the same year the program celebrated 40 years of existence.
The Cougars earned an at-large bid into the tournament after their second straight appearance in the NEWMAC Tournament Finals and they cemented their selection with a thrilling 3-2 win over Montclair State on Friday night.
Score: Stevens 3, Clark University 0 (16-25, 22-25, 23-25)
Records: Clark University 24-8, Stevens 32-5
Location: Canavan Arena, Hoboken, N.J.
How It Happened:
The first set was a back and forth affair to begin and was knotted at 9-9 when the Ducks recorded three straight points, forcing a Cougar timeout.
Stevens had their run continue with the help of some Clark hitting errors and they pushed their advantage to 16-9 until a Jacqueline Jimenez-Maldonado (San Francisco, Calif.) kill ended the spurt.
The second set saw Stevens race out to an 11-7 lead but the Cougars fought back and knotted the score at 14-14 on another Ramos kill.
It was tied at 17-17 and again at 20-20, but the Ducks finished the set strong again, taking a 25-22 decision.
The third set saw the Cougars come out firing and after an Ana Mercado (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) kill, they were ahead 15-12 forcing a Stevens timeout.
Clark was still ahead 17-15 moments later, but the Ducks battled back and evened the set at 19-19.
It would be tied again at 20-20 and again at 21-21 before the Scarlet and White went ahead 22-21 after back-to-back kills from Savannah Sanford (San Anselmo, Calif.).
Knotted at 22-22, the Ducks went ahead 23-22 but a Clark caught up again at 23-23.
A Sara Hain kill was answered by consecutive Ramos kills to give the Scarlet and White a 25-24 lead but the Ducks rallied and evened the score.
It was tied again at 26-26 and another time at 27-27 and then once more at 28-28 before Stevens completed the victory, 30-28.
Numbers Never Lie:
Ramos led the way with a match-best 18 kills and six digs, while Mercado chipped in with eight of her own.
Rachel Webb (Celina, Texas) dished out 35 assists and Rayme Quiban (Seattle, Wash.), who filled in during both matches for Mia Cattaneo (Santa Barbara, Calif.), who was injured in the league championship match, corralled a match-best 22 digs.