Springfield, Mass. - October 4, 2016 - The Springfield College women's volleyball team powered past Clark University in straight sets in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) showdown in Blake Arena on Tuesday night.
In a rematch of last year's NEWMAC Championship Semifinals, the Pride won by the set scores of 25-10, 25-21, 25-19. Springfield, which continued to receive votes in the most recent AVCA Division III National Coaches Poll, improved to 12-3, 6-1 in conference play. Clark's record dropped to 12-7, 3-3.
Lauren Holt (Granby, Conn.) was dominant in the middle for Springfield as she racked up 14 kills at a .464 clip to go along with seven blocks. Kayleigh Helgesen (Oceanside, Calif.) delivered 10 kills and four blocks, hitting .429, while Hayley Kmetz (Ardsley, N.Y.) added nine kills and a career-best 14 digs. Anagabrielle Sanchez (Caguas, Puerto Rico) led all players with 17 digs in the victory, and Marnae Mawdsley (Bolton, Conn.) handed out 39 assists in leading Springfield to a .374 hitting percentage, its second-best performance of the season.
Clark was led by Marina Ramos, who totaled 14 kills and two aces in the loss. The Cougars managed to hit jut .089 and Rachel Webb was credited with 27 assists and nine digs.
Springfield jumped all over Clark to start the match, seizing a 9-1 lead as Holt dominated the early going with four kills and a pair of blocks. Springfield's used its fourth ace of the set from Jennifer Hurwitz (Longmeadow, Mass.) to open up a 16-5 cushion, and eased its way to a 25-10 first-set win. Springfield hit .409 as a team with Holt tallying five kills and three blocks for the hosts, which limited Clark to a -.061 hitting percentage.
After falling behind 7-5 in the second set, the Pride strung together a 4-1 surge, with Helgesen hammering a ball cross court to force the Cougars into a timeout. A kill in transition from Ramos put the visitors back on top, 14-13, but out of a Springfield timeout, the Pride rattled off six-straight points behind the tremendous serving of Haley DeRoche (Haverhill, Mass.). Clark battled within two four times, only to have Jennifer Donnelly (Exeter, R.I.) cap off a long rally with a big swing to give Pride a 25-21 win. Kmetz notched five kills in the game for Springfield, which registered 17 kills as a team.
Facing an 8-7 deficit in the third, Clark poured on four-straight points, taking advantage of consecutive Pride miscues to force the hosts into a timeout at 11-8. The Pride continued to trail, 16-13, until an 8-2 push made the visitors burn their final timeout after back-to-back kills from Helgesen. Holt blistered an ace out of the break and Springfield didn't look back en route to the 25-19 win. Both Helgesen and Holt notched five kills in the set for the Pride, which hit at a .462 clip as a team.
Springfield will host the Tom Hay Invitational this weekend, taking on Westfield State, Endicott, Bard, and Amherst.