Cambridge, Mass. - November 5, 2016 - The Springfield College women's volleyball team was defeated by Clark University in straight sets in the New England Women's and Men's Atheltic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship Semifinals in Rockwell Cage on the campus of MIT on Saturday.
The third-seeded Cougars bested second-seeded Springfield for the second-straight year in the conference semifinals, this year in straight sets with the scores being 25-23, 25-21, 25-22.
Springfield drops to 27-5 on the season and will now await to see if it will be selected as an at-large team to the 2016 NCAA Division III Championship field. The Pride, which was ranked second in New England in the lastest regional rankings, will find out its postseason fate during the national selection show, which will air on Monday at 12:30 pm on NCAA.com.
Clark won its 11th-straight match to improve to 22-8 on the year and will face top-seeded MIT in the title match.
Hayley Kmetz (Ardsley, N.Y.) totaled a team-best 11 kills to go along with 10 digs, while Lauren Holt (Granby, Conn.) added eight kills and seven blocks. Marnae Mawdsley (Bolton, Conn.) was credited with 32 assists and 17 digs, and Anagabrielle Sanchez (Caguas, Puerto Rico) chipped in 17 digs as well.
Marina Ramos led all players with 21 kills in the win for Clark, while Rachel Webb handed out 38 assists go along with 13 digs. Savannah Sanford totaled a team-best 15 digs and Courtney Pharr tallied five blocks.
With the score tied at eight-all in the first set, Springfield use a 3-0 burst to gain an 11-8 cushion following an ace by Kmetz. The Pride's lead would grow to 16-12 following a big swing from Kmetz, only to have the Cougars storm back with a 7-1 surge, capped off by a block from Ramos and Pharr to force the Pride into a timeout. Springfield would tie things at 19-all following another Kmetz ace, however Ramos pounded out three kills in the next four points to give Clark a cushion that it carry into a 25-23 win. Despite totaling 16 kills at a .361 clip in the set, Springfield could not overcome an incredible effort from Ramos which resulted in nine of her teams 17 kills.
Clark carried that momentum into the second set, surging out to an 8-1 advantage as the Pride burned both of their timeouts in the opening nine points. Springfield did not go away quietly, manufacturing a 14-3 run, bolstered by five kills by Kmetz, to gain a 15-12 lead. The Pride's cushion would hold at 17-14 on a kill from Kayleigh Helgesen (Oceanside, Calif.) before Clark put together an 11-3 burst to close out the second set with a 25-21 win. The Pride committed four attack errors in the run, while Ramos tallied four more kills.
Springfield rebounded from an early 11-8 deficit in the third with a 9-2 run that was fueled by three blocks from Holt as the Pride built a 17-13 advantage. Springfield's lead would grow to 20-15 off a huge swing by Holt, but Clark responded with five-straight points to even things at 20-all. The teams traded the next four points, before Ramos delivered a solo stuff and back-to-back kills to seal the win.