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After starting the season 2-8 in their conference, the Clark Baseball team finds themselves heading into the end of the regular season with a four game win streak. In the past four victories, they have combined to outscore their opponents 46-18. Their last victory on Tuesday against Babson kept them in the playoff race, which makes their final three conference games against Coast Guard beginning this weekend ever more crucial.
The Cougars had lost a few close games earlier in the season to Wheaton and WPI, but beating Springfield three times last week helped give them a boost. “In the Springfield game we knew we had to win in order to stay alive in the conference tournament,” said starting third-baseman Zach Richall (’16). “The WPI games were very close games and we had chances to win and we just couldn’t pull it out, same as the Wheaton ones… It was just a matter of being able to go the extra mile against Springfield.”
The Cougars will play Coast Guard three times, once on Friday and twice on Saturday, and they need to win at least two out of the three games to earn a spot in the tournament. Heading into the weekend Richall said, “We just need to take it each game by game so we can focus on Friday first…and after Friday it goes to Saturday… We need to win two out of three.” Indeed, the Cougars have played a lot of back-to-back games and double-headers this season, but the team has been able to cope with it well. “Our pitching is pretty solid… Our starters can always give us a good outing so the bullpen never really gets taxed,” added Richall.
Their recent success has come in light of the absence of Jack Kenney (’16), one of their stronger pitchers who is sidelined with a shoulder injury. “It hurts because he was one of our best pitchers,” said Richall. “He beat Wheaton last year…he would always go out there and give it his best.” The game Friday starts at 3:30 p.m. and the two games Saturday beginning at noon to cheer our Cougars on and help them clinch a playoff spot.
Clark Lacrosse lost in another nail-biting overtime game against MIT. Much like in the Coast Guard game, Clark led after one half of play. However, the almost robotic production of MIT consisted throughout the second half, as they scored no more and no less than two goals each quarter to tie the game at eight apiece after regulation. The game almost stood at 8-8 after one overtime until an Engineer snuck one past Clark with six seconds left to put the final score at 9-8.
While this might be a crucial loss for the Cougars, who now are a game behind rivals MIT, Wheaton and Babson, and two games Springfield at 2-2, the greater loss had to be from co-captain and attackman Nick Johnson’s (‘17) ACL tear. Johnson has been leading the team in points so far with 22 goals and 24 assists. It will be on the rest of the attackmen and midfielders to make up for the offense that Johnson created, but the team has a wealth of talent at both positions to assume some of this offensive responsibility, and have benefitted from strong defensive play all year.
Clark was able to notch a win against Mass. Maritime last Wednesday, with attackman Brandon King (‘19) playing his best game of the season. He got his first start of the season to replace Johnson in the lineup, and scored three goals. Rob Holden (‘16) also scored three goals. The offense seemed hum along, however the real test will happen this weekend against the 3-1 Babson Beavers. The 2-2 Cougars will take on Babson at home this Saturday at 1 p.m. as they look to create some separation from the middle of the pack in the NEWMAC standings.
Despite a fourth place finish, Clark Women’s Rowing set a school record on Sunday, April 17 with their time of 7:14.41. The team’s varsity lineup — Brooke Wilson (‘16), Sarah Fisher (‘16), Niki Lew (‘17), Kate Barnett (‘17), Lydia Warters (‘17), Cailyn Keely (‘18), Emily Ladda (‘19), Halley Glier (‘19), and Emily Thibault (‘19) — faced off against three of the best teams in the nation. Tufts, the winner of the race, is ranked seventh and finished with a time of 6:48.1. William Smith College, which came in second place (6:54.2), is ranked 15th in the country, and third-place finisher WPI (7:01.9) is ranked tenth.
“Everything we have been working on these past few months and all the hours of training we put in over the winter finally paid off,” wrote Wilson, one of the team’s captains. “Since Coach McDonald became head coach in fall 2012 the rowing program [at] Clark has made a huge transformation, and I think the results from this past weekend indicate that.”
The Cougars’ novice boat also came in fourth place with a time of 7:57.1.
Clark will compete in the NEWMAC Championships this coming Saturday at Lake Quinsigamond. Wilson says last weekend’s race gave the team an important confidence boost and is looking forward to competing in the championships.
Wilson is also sad to see her Clark career come to an end but has high hopes for the team. “I think Clark Rowing has a very bright future, especially with all the talent the underclassmen have,” she wrote. “I am excited to see where the next few years take them and cannot wait to watch them race in the years to come.”
The Cougars started the weekend off slow with a 6-0 loss to Springfield College in game one and a 8-4 loss in game two. The following game they turned their luck around, with a 6-4 win to Coast Guard. “The team was really motivated to win and we put our hearts into it, and we played extremely well as a result,” Captain Rachel Kraytenberg (‘16) wrote in an email to The Scarlet. Unfortunately the Cougars lost the second game 7-3, but they came back strong on Sunday with two wins against Worcester State. During game one the Cougars had good defense with a 4-0 win. Game two was closer with a 5-4 win. “Those were great wins and they really can’t be reduced to just either maturity or luck. We have been working really hard this entire season,” wrote Kraytenberg.
She added that she was glad that the team is keeping up the intensity regardless of their qualifications for the NEWMAC Championship. “The main focus of the season was never really on the playoffs, but if we happened to be qualified for playoffs then that would have been icing on the cake.
“Since we obviously are not going to playoffs, there really isn’t a shift of focus. We go through each day the same way, we prepare for every game the same way, and we always try to have fun. For the rest of the season, we’ll just play like we have been,” wrote Kraytenberg. The team will play its last home games of the season today, Friday, April 22, at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. It might rain this afternoon, but don’t let that stop you from heading over to the field next to the Arboretum and watching yourself some Cougar magic.
Clark Men’s Tennis hit a NEWMAC wall against Springfield last Wednesday. The team lost 7-2, but the three doubles matches were especially close. “Our team was highly competitive and it showed potential in the doubles games,” wrote Teodor Nicola (‘19) in an email to The Scarlet. Nicola played number three doubles with Lenny Siegel (‘18) and lost in a close 8-6 match. The #1 doubles of Fernando Pinoargote (‘16) and Spencer Pinkney (‘17) lost 8-5, and the #2 doubles of Mateo Gomez (‘19) and Andrey Samodaev (‘19) lost 8-4.
A bright spot of the match was the performances of the young players, namely Nicola and Gomez, who both won their singles matches at #5 and #6 respectively. These performances were an encouraging sign for a team primarily comprised of first-years. “We obtained some valuable individual wins that add up to our confidence. In the future, we hope to further develop our skills and use the experience gained to bring success for Clark University,” said Nicola. They will play their next home match on Wednesday, April 27 against Coast Guard academy as they continue to gain NEWMAC experience.