Wheaton battles back to force deciding set with Clark before falling in five

NORTON, Mass. - The Wheaton College women's volleyball team twice knotted Tuesday evening's New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) match against Clark University but fell short in the deciding set, as the Lyons lost 3-2 (16-25, 25-20, 19-25, 25-10, 8-15) in Emerson Gymnasium.

The Blue and White suffered its eighth consecutive loss in falling to 8-14 overall and 2-4 in league play, while Clark, which played in its first five-set match of the season, improved to 6-9 and 3-1.

Sophomore Rachel Vergara (Needham, Mass./Needham) and freshman Jackie Jones (Amherst, N.H./Souhegan) led Wheaton's hitting attack with 19 and 15 kills, respectively.  Freshman Lindsay Tebbetts (Gilmanton, N.H./Gilford) added nine.

Senior Becca Rose (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury Regional) distributed 45 assists to go alongside seven digs, while classmate Kristen Hunt (Milford, Conn./Jonathan Law) recorded 21 digs.  Sophomore Olanna Nissim (Greenwich, Conn./Greenwich) and junior Emily Davisson (Carpinteria, Calif./Laguna Blanca School) had 11 and nine digs, respectively.

Senior Maritza Fair (Bronx, N.Y./Nightingale-Bamford School) and junior Amira Tranchell (Falmouth, Mass./Falmouth) paced a balanced Clark offense with nine kills each, while junior Kristin McGinty (Vail, Colo./Vail Christian) contributed eight with four blocks.  Fair also had three service aces.

Freshman Rachel Spera (North Hollywood, Calif./Immaculate Heart Academy) notched a double-double showing of 30 assists and 15 digs, and junior Kortney Kelley (Barnstable, Mass./Barnstable) led the back line with 21 digs.

Four ties ensued to begin action in the opening set before the Cougars went on a 5-0 run and didn't look back.  The hosts got as close as 17-12, but Clark scored eight of the set's final 12 points.  The second set proved to be the tightest as the contest was tied at 20 before Wheaton used a 5-0 spurt capped by a Jones ace to knot the match at one.

The Cougars retook the lead by holding an advantage for nearly the entire third set, stretching a 17-15 edge into a 21-15 cushion as the Blue and White got no closer than four.  The Lyons quickly claimed victory in the fourth set, ripping off 14 straight points on the strength of Davisson's service in breaking open a three-all tie.

In the final set, the teams were knotted at two before Clark pulled out to a 9-4 lead.  A Jones kill brought Wheaton to within four, but the Lyons would come no closer.  Leading 14-8, the Cougars sealed the victory on a Tranchell kill.

Wheaton kicks off Homecoming weekend on Friday night by hosting Western Connecticut State University in a non-conference match at 6:00 p.m.

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