SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Western New England University volleyball team dropped its non-conference finale to Clark University, 3-0 (25-20, 25-15, 25-22), on Thursday night at the Alumni Healthful Living Center.
Senior middle blocker Cassandra Holmes (Ellington, Conn.) led the Golden Bears offensively, hitting .917 with a team-high 11 kills and no errors in 12 attempts. Holmes also recorded four block assists.
Senior outside hitter Ashley Matthews (Salem, N.H.) tallied seven kills and 12 digs, while senior setter Caitlyn Sibiskie (Rockfall, Conn.) finished with 31 assists, five digs and three block assists.
Clark's offense was fueled by freshman outside hitter Claudia Rivera (Guaynabo, P.R.) and sophomore setter Margarita Perez-Maza (Guaynabo, P.R.). Rivera produced a match-high 14 kills, while Perez-Maza hit .389 with nine kills.
Western New England started off the match strong, winning the first five points with two kills from Holmes. The Golden Bears maintained their lead until the Cougars used a late 3-0 run to pull ahead 19-18. A Clark service error tied the set one final time before the Cougars claimed six of the next seven points to take the frame 25-20.
Facing a 14-10 deficit in the second set, the Golden Bears used a 3-0 spurt to close the gap to one. The Cougars responded with a 3-0 run of their own to push the lead back to four. Western New England won the next two points to draw to within two (17-15), before Clark closed out the set with an 8-0 run.
Trailing 15-14 in the third set, Clark took the lead for good with a 4-0 run that was aided by a pair of WNE ball handling errors. The Golden Bears were unable to recover as the Cougars held onto their lead down the stretch, sealing the sweep.
• Western New England completed its non-conference slate with a 10-11 record.
• Clark hit .236 for the match, while the Golden Bears posted a .181 hitting percentage.
Western New England (12-14) remains at home on Saturday to host Roger Williams in CCC action at noon. The Golden Bears will recognize their five seniors before the start of the match. Clark (9-17) hosts Worcester State on Saturday at 1 p.m.