WORCESTER -- Claudia Rivera (Guaynabo, PR) tallied a game-high 17 kills to lift Clark to a hard-earned 3-1 victory over host WPI in the NEWMAC opener for both squads on Tuesday evening. The visitors took the match by set scores of 25-23, 25-20, 23-25, 25-22.
With the win, the Cougars improve to 3-4 on the season and 1-0 in NEWMAC action while the Engineers dip to 5-2 overall and 0-1 in conference play.
Clark jumped out to a 2-0 advantage boasted by strong hitting. The Cougars hit .294 in the opening set and .304 in the second stanza. Despite the solid attack, the hosts battled tough, forging 23 ties and 11 lead changes in the first two sets.
Things looked bleak for the home-standing Engineers in the third set as Clark jumped out to a 6-1 advantage, but WPI rallied to tie the game at 15-15 and then, behind the serving of Jia Yazon (South Windsor, CT) and a pair of kills by Suela Miloshi (Needham, MA), rattled off six straight points to seize a 21-15 edge before holding on for a 25-22 victory.
The fourth set was nip-and-tuck before Clark went on a 4-0 spurt to transform a 17-17 deadlock into an insurmountable 21-17 lead.
Rivera was joined in double digits kills by Cameron Gill (Shrewsbury, MA) and Victoria Pastor (Guaynabo, PR), who each smacked 10. Yvanna Torres (San Juan, PR) and Margarita Perez-Maza (Guaynabo, PR) doled out 21 and 18 assists respectively for the Cougars while Marimo Oka (Fukuoka, Japan) led all players with 24 digs.
Miloshi paced the Crimson and Gray with 14 kills while Natalia Wierzbicki (Wareham, MA) chipped in with 13 kills. Catherine Reynolds (Concord, NH) amassed a game-high 44 assists while Victoria Escuer (Caracas, Venezuela) total 25 digs and Yazon finished with 17 digs and three service aces.
WPI closes out its two-match NEWMAC-opening homestand on Saturday with a 1pm match against Emerson. Clark steps out of conference on Thursday, venturing to Keene State for a 7pm contest.