NORTON, MA- The Wheaton College women's volleyball team slipped in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) standings on Tuesday evening, dropping a 3-2 (25-21, 25-22, 23-25, 23-25, 11-15) decision to visiting Clark University on Senior Night in Emerson Gymnasium.
The Lyons fell to 17-14 overall and 2-6 in the league, as they slid into a tie for eighth in the league with Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). Wheaton and the Engineers square off on Saturday at 12:00 p.m. in Worcester, with only the winner making a trip to the eight-team NEWMAC Tournament. Clark upped its records to 8-15 and 3-5.
Sophomore Miranda Howitt (San Francisco, CA/International) turned in a double-double for Wheaton with 23 kills and 14 digs, while senior Lauren Kraus (Westboro, MA/Westboro) had eight kills and five aces in her final match in Emerson Gymnasium. Junior Becca Rose (Sudbury, MA/Lincoln-Sudbury Regional) turned in 47 assists and 15 digs, while sophomore Lauren McGrath (Wading River, NY/Shoreham-Wading River) had five blocks.
Defensively, sophomore Emily Davisson (Carpinteria, CA/Laguna Blanca School) led the Lyons with 25 digs, while junior Kristen Hunt (Milford, CT/Jonathan Law) and freshman Olanna Nissim (Greenwich, CT/Greenwich) had 17 digs apiece.
Sophomore Nicole Sullivan (Marshfield, MA/Marshfield) paced Clark with 15 kills and five blocks, while classmate Kristin McGinty (Vail, CO/Vail Christian) also had 15 kills. Freshman Emily Sullivan (Nashua, NH/Nashua South) dished off 54 assists, while senior Emily Visone (West Hempstead, NY/West Hempstead) and sophomore Kortney Kelley (Barnstable, MA/Barnstable) notched 26 digs apiece.
The Lyons captured each of the first two sets, leading by as many as six points in the opening set before a Kraus kill clinched the 1-0 edge. In the second set, the hosts scored the first four points before 13 ties ensued, the last of which occurred at 21 while the Lyons were on a set-ending 5-1 run. Nissim had a pair of kills in that stretch.
In the third set, a Wheaton 23-21 lead was washed out by the Cougars, who scored the final four points after calling a timeout, with Nicole Sullivan landing a kill at set point. The teams played to five deadlocks in the fourth set before Wheaton grabbed a 20-16 edge, but Clark scored the next four points before snapping a 23-all tie, knotting the match on a McGinty kill.
Clark blew open a 6-5 fifth set with four straight points, but the Lyons rallied from a later 12-7 deficit to make it 12-11 behind a pair of aces by Kraus. However, freshman ToniMarie Illuzzi's (Manorville, NY/Eastport-South Manor) kill capped Clark's match-ending 3-0 run.
Wheaton heads to Emmanuel College on Thursday at 7:00 p.m.