Regionally-Ranked Clark Bests Volleyball in Four Sets

Melissa Daigle


WORCESTER -- The Clark University women's volleyball team ran to a 3-1 (25-17, 23-25, 25-21, 25-23) victory over NEWMAC Park Ave. opponent WPI on Tuesday night in the Kneller Athletic Center. Marina Ramos (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) had a stellar night that included 21 kills and 22 digs to lift the Cougars to victory.

The Cougars, who are currently ranked No. 10 in the latest NCAA Regional Rankings, improve to 17-9 and 6-4 in the NEWMAC while the Engineers slip to 10-17 and 1-8).

Clark took an early 7-2 lead in set one followed by a 5-0 run that included a kill and a service ace from Ramos. The Engineers closed the home team's lead to 14-11 later in the set on two kills from Sarah Kwatinetz (Seattle, WA) and a kill from Melissa Daigle (Norfolk, MA). The Cougars responded with a 4-0 rally to extend their lead back to seven highlighted by a block from Ana Mercado (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) and Kacey Legare (Chicopee, MA) (18-11). WPI came back within five late in the set but that was as close as they would get as another 4-0 run that included three more kills from Mercado earned Clark the 25-17 victory.

WPI led for most of the second set going up by as much as six points (10-4) in the early stages. Daigle and Brooke Klepper (Miami Beach, FL) each had three kills while Colleen Mullins (Andover, MA) added two kills for the early lead. The Cougars regained the lead on a 5-0 run that put them up 16-14 but two quick points from the visitors including a kill from Klepper tied it up at 16 apiece. Back to back service aces from Rayme Quiban (Seattle, WA) put the Cougars up 21-18. The two teams traded points for the remainder of the set, but a late 4-0 run from the visitors highlighted by two kills from Kwatinetz gave the Engineers the ultimate 25-23 victory to tie the match at 1-1.

The third set was a close battle with the Cougars and the Engineers but the visitors earned their first small amount of breathing room following a 3-0 run that put them up 14-10. The run included a kill from Kwatinetz and an ace from Mullins. The Cougars quickly responded with a 4-0 and a 6-0 run of their own to take a 20-15 lead. Ramos posted three kills in the rally while Mercado and Jacqueline Jimenez-Maldonado (San Francisco, CA) each notched a kill for the Cougars. The Engineers were never able to regain the lead and a final kill from Ramos gave Clark the 25-21 victory and the 2-1 lead heading into the fourth set.

WPI took the first lead of the set as Daigle recorded three kills in a row for the 3-0 lead. -The Cougars took their first lead after a 6-0 rally, including two kills from Ramos that put them up 7-5. Three kills in a row from Mullins put the Engineers back in the lead (9-8). -The two teams traded a handful of points and saw five ties over the next six points scored. A 3-0 run for the Cougars gave them the 17-16 lead and forced the visitors to call a timeout. Ramos and Sophia Torino (Los Angeles, CA) put up huge kills for the lead. With the Cougars leading 23-19 WPI called a timeout. Immediately following the break the visitors put up three points in a row to close the gap to 23-22. Kwatinetz earned the first kill of the comeback and Clark responded by calling their own timeout. Following the timeout, Mercado came up with a huge kill for the home team to give them the 24-22 lead but Kwatinetz responded with another kill (24-23). The Cougars earned the match point on an error by the visitors and took the final 25-23 victory in set four and the 3-1 match victory.

Ramos led all players with 21 kills on the night and added 22 digs to lift the Cougars to victory. Mercado added 12 kills of her own in the win. Defensively, Quiban led all players with 23 digs. Torino added 38 assists on the night for Clark.

Daigle and Kwatinetz each posted 13 kills to lead WPI. Azita Bakhtyari (Andover, MA) led all players with 43 assists while Victoria Nassar (Atkinson, NH) checked in with 22 digs.

WPI hosts nationally-ranked MIT in NEWMAC action on Saturday at 1pm. The Cougars host Salve Regina Thursday 7pm.

Release Courtesy Clark Sports Information