WORCESTER, Mass. – The Mount Holyoke College volleyball team headed to Clark University on Saturday for a pair of matches. The Lyons shouldered a 3-0 loss in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action to the host Cougars, before suffering a 3-1 loss to Rhode Island College in the middle match. MHC slips to 2-10 on the season with an 0-6 mark in NEWMAC play.
The Lyons opened the day's action against Clark (25-13, 25-19, 25-17), falling behind 1-0 on a 25-13 effort from the Cougars in the opening set. MHC opened the second frame with a 2-0 lead behind kills from junior Katrina Meserve and first year Sasha Simine, but the Cougars bounced back to tie the match on a kill and an attacking error.
MHC went on a 5-0 run following the tie, including kills from sophomores Cameron Graham and Jamesa Allen, but despite the 7-3 advantage, the Cougars continued to threaten. Down 14-11 to the visitors, Clark capitalized on three points from Courtney Pharr to tie the match at 14-all. A kill by Ana Mercado quickly followed after a Mount Holyoke timeout to give the Cougars at 15-14 lead – one which they would not relinquish.
Facing a 23-16 deficit, the Lyons got a kill from Allen and were able to earn two more points on an error and an ace from senior Natalie Lyon, but the Cougars closed out the 25-19 set win thanks to a kill and an MHC attacking error.
In the third set, the score was a back-and-forth affair until a 3-0 run gave the home team a 4-2 advantage. The Lyons would keep things close, cutting back to a two-point deficit on a kill by Allen to make it 10-8, but a 6-0 run widened the gap, giving Clark a 21-12 lead.
Mount Holyoke grabbed a 3-0 rally of their own as a kill from sophomore Sarah Caggiano, coupled with two Clark errors, closed the gap to 22-16 but the host team continued to capitalize on errors, closing down the set on a kill from Marina Ramos for the 25-17 win and match victory.
The Lyons were led by Allen, who posted eight kills with six digs and a block solo. Lyon added 18 assists, two service aces and seven digs, while Graham posted a team-high 10 digs.
The second match of the day for the Lyons pitted them against a familiar foe in Rhode Island College (25-19, 25-23, 20-25, 25-15). MHC saw the Anchorwomen on September 10 in tri-match action at Salve Regina. In the rematch, the Lyons found themselves down by a 2-0 margin heading into the third set.
A 3-1 run found the Lyons with a 7-3 advantage, including a kill from Caggiano, but RIC battled back to close the gap to 11-10 on a kill from Jillian Ward. MHC continued to hold strong, matching the Anchorwomen point for point before pulling away to a 20-15 lead behind an ace from Lyon.
RIC grabbed a point back but kills from Allen, sophomore Joy Maran and Simine made it a 23-17 advantage. The Anchorwomen cut the gap to four, but a final kill from Caggiano gave the Lyons the 25-20 set win.
In the fourth, RIC held the early lead, but the Lyons battled back to tie it at 5-all on an attacking error. Despite the momentum, the Anchorwomen went on a 4-0 run to force an MHC timeout. RIC continued to rally, this time with a 5-0 run to push the margin to 17-8. Mount Holyoke continued to push back as kills from Meserve and Caggiano made it a 20-13 margin.
RIC was too dominant down the stretch with four of the last five points, including an ace from Kaitlyn Kopecky to seal the set win and the match victory.
Allen posted 11 kills in the match, adding nine digs and two block assists. Caggiano added 10 kills with a block assist, while Lyon had 33 assists and 15 digs. Graham and Meserve also boasted solid dig totals with 16 each.
Mount Holyoke is back in action on Tuesday when it hosts Coast Guard Academy at 7pm in the Mildred S. Howard Gymnasium.