WORCESTER, Mass. – Ana Mercado had 21 kills while Marina Ramos added 20 kills and 23 digs as Clark held off a late Coast Guard charge and beat the Bears 3-2 in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) opener for both teams.
Clark won the first two games 25-22, 25-20 before the Bears roared back to tie the match winning the next two games 25-18 and 25-21. The Cougars won the match with a 15-10 victory in the deciding fifth game.
The Cougars improve to 4-3 overall and 1-0 in the conference while Coast Guard had its four match win streak snapped as the Bears dropped to 6-3 overall and 0-1 in the NEWMAC.
Freshman Bridget Boyle led the Bears with 13 kills to go with 13 digs. Sophomore Angelou Dunton had 11 kills and 16 digs while sophomore Alexi Deane and senior Emma Saunders each added nine kills for Coast Guard.
Senior Michelle McGill had a season-high 31 digs and five aces to lead the Bears, sophomore Makenna Martin led and freshman Veronica Hine each had 25 assist for Coast Guard.
The Bears jumped out to a 6-2 lead and maintained the lead later with a 13-9 edge before the Cougars ran off four straight to tie it 13-13.
Coast Guard led 15-14 before Clark scored seven of the next eight points taking its largest lead of the set 21-16. The Bears would pull to within two points at 23-21 before Clark won it 25-22.
Clark got out to a 5-1 lead in the second game and led 13-8 in the second when the Bears caught fire scoring eight of the next 10 points to take a 16-15 lead. In the 8-2 run, McGill served five points including a pair of aces.
The Cougars would respond by scoring five of the next six to take a 20-17 lead. Coast Guard trailed 22-20 when Clark closed out the set with three straight points for a 25-20 win.
Coast Guard came alive in the third game, the Bears jumped out to a 9-3 lead and were cruising with a 19-10 lead before Clark scored six straight to pull to within 19-16. Clark pulled to within 20-18 before the Bears scored the final five points for the 25-18 win.
In the fourth game, neither team had more than a two-point lead until Coast Guard scored two straight for a 16-13 lead. Clark was trailing 20-17 before scoring four of the next five to tie it 21-21. Coast Guard would however score the final four points to force a fifth and deciding game.
In the final game, the teams traded the first eight points and were tied 4-4 before Clark scored three straight and six of the next seven points to take a 10-5 lead and held on closing out the match with a 15-10 win.
It was the second straight home win for the Cougars against Coast Guard as Clark won 3-0 in Worcester in 2015. The Bears were 3-2 winners last year in New London.
Coast Guard is back in action on Saturday when the Bears host Emerson in a NEWMAC game at 1:00.