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Sara Conroy, Sports Editor

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Your Clark University Cougars have been competing in games and matches which contributed to their overall standing in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) in the region. This standing ultimately determines their eligibility to move on to the tournament, play, or even attend NCAAs later this fall. Fall teams have a general sense at this point in their season whether they will move on or if their seasons will come to a close in the next week. Games and matches have been played since this article has gone to publish which might render rankings provided here old. All information provided here is up to date as of October 29. Read further to catch up on the Clark Cougars and their conference play. 

Women’s Volleyball

The women’s volleyball team currently ranks ninth in the NEWMAC standings. This puts them above Mt. Holyoke College and Smith College. Unfortunately, they have fallen to all but one of their NEWMAC opponents this season. For most of their matches, the Clark volleyball team has struggled to put up a set on their opponents, which has contributed to their inability to topple opponents. Five of the seven losses against their conference opponents developed from three set games. However, against non-conference opponents the team has competed competitively. In recent matches, the women’s volleyball team has gone on a five-match winning streak and only gave up three sets on the four games. In a late season victory, the Cougars toppled NEWMAC rival WPI. As The Scarlet reported earlier in the season, the women’s volleyball team is a relatively young team compared to many other teams at Clark and in the NEWMAC, as well. With only three upperclassmen teammates on the squad, the team has only a few teammates who are veterans to the program. Having such a young team can create challenges when coming up against tough opponents, despite having a team with depth and skill. 

Despite the barriers the women’s volleyball team has faced in their season thus far, head coach Mickey Cahoon is inspired by his players and their efforts so far this season. “The NEWMAC is consistently represented by some of the best volleyball teams in our region each year and this fall is no different with as many as seven teams appearing in the top 15 of the NEWVA coaches poll,” said Cahoon. “We have a young team this year and I have been extremely proud of how hard the team has worked and competed throughout the season. Our goal is to finish the conference season playing our best volleyball of the season”.

Women’s and Men’s Soccer

The women’s soccer team has struggled to score goals against NEWMAC opponents this season. The team is currently eighth in their NEWMAC conference rankings, which puts them ahead of Mt. Holyoke College, Wellesley College and Smith College so far this season. The Cougars will almost definitely finish ahead of Wellesley and Mt. Holyoke whom the Cougars bested. That being said, their three conference wins may not be enough to put them on their way to the NEWMAC playoffs. On their season, the Cougars have played some of the best-ranked teams in the region and have struggled to score goals. After starting the season as one of the leading goal scorers in Division III soccer, they were held to just eight total goals in October. Meanwhile, NEWMAC opponents have been able to sneak away a goal or two on the Cougars in most games. Coach Smith stated that she was proud of the team’s efforts so far on the season. She noted that the team was able to hold one of the higher ranked teams in DIII women’s soccer, MIT, who ranks 11th in the nation, to only two goals and nine shots on goal. 

The men’s soccer team stands third in the NEWMAC after winning four of their six conference games so far this season. They are topped by just WPI, whom they have yet to play, and Babson, who ties them in wins but has a couple ties to put them ahead of the Cougars. The men’s soccer team has scored a total of 14 goals against NEWMAC opponents and let up only eight. In their senior game against Emerson College, seniors Charlie Lane, Sean Monroe and Evan Jurkowski each put away a goal. The team is averaging 2.38 goals per game on their season and have secured a spot in the playoffs regardless of the outcome of their final NEWMAC game against WPI. Head coach Matt O’Toole was disappointed earlier in the season not to have secured a win against the Wheaton Lyons stating that those “three points would be a wonderful separator.” However, it seems the men’s soccer team has been able to secure a leading position among their opponents regardless. 

On the student-athlete perspective, both the men’s and women’s soccer teams have received their sixth straight United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Honor. The United Soccer Coaches annually celebrate academic achievement among soccer players at the collegiate level. The Lady Cougars posted a team GPA of 3.67 last year finishing fourth among all DIII NCAA women’s soccer teams in the nation. On the men’s side, the Cougars recorded a team GPA of 3.39 last year to finish as one of just four NEWMAC teams with the Academic Honor.

 Women’s Field Hockey 

The women’s field hockey team has won two of their conference games so far on the season with only two more games to play. This puts them seventh in the conference standings ahead of Smith College and Wheaton College. The field hockey team had started their season off on a strong foot, emerging as one of the leaders in the conference after the first week of play. Since, the team has struggled to compete with some of the best conference competition with losses against Babson College, MIT, and Springfield College. There is still time for the field hockey team to make up some ground. They’ll play WPI and finish their season against Smith College. If they secure two wins, their conference standings will be good for a spot in the conference tournament. They have put away 13 goals on their opponents and suffered 23 throughout the conference games on the season. The team has welcomed a strong first-year class including Freeport, ME native Kerry Lefebvre. Lefebvre earned NEWMAC Athlete of the Week in women’s field hockey for her contributions in a conference match against Wheaton College. Lefebvre was a critical player in all five goal scoring plays and was the goal scorer in four of the five. 

 

Coach Kelley is field hockey’s interim head coach and has brought many years of experience in leadership to the team. As a former Clark University standout field hockey keeper and NEWMAC All-Conference First Team title holder, Coach Kelley (‘07) knows what excellence on the field looks like. Despite having historically struggled against NEWMAC opponents, Coach Kelley and the women of Clark University field hockey have ramped up their season play. Of the season so far, Coach Kelley had the following to say after their opening week of NEWMAC play: “I am really excited about our NEWMAC play thus far. Our goal this season was to be very competitive in conference play and so far, we are doing just that. We came into the season ranked last in preseason polls, so we have something to prove. I’m proud of all of the work that the team has put into improving their play and I can’t wait to see where we go from here.” 

Men’s and Women’s Cross Country

In the sport of cross country, teams do not compete isolated against another team. The men’s and women’s cross country teams compete at meets where teams from all over the area come together to compete. The competition ranges in division and conference in each meet. Thus, there are no standings for the men’s and women’s cross country teams until they compete in the NEWMAC meet, where they will fight for the top spot among the other NEWMAC opponents. The NEWMAC meet will take place this coming Sunday. 

In their seasons, the men’s and women’s cross country team have struggled to keep up with opponents. The teams have attended the Umass Dartmouth Cross Country Invitational and the Keene State Invitational. At the Umass Dartmouth race, the women finished 28th of 37 teams in the field. They even beat out Division II opponent, Bentley. The men struggled in this meet, coming 34th. At the Keene State cross country invitational, both teams met hard challengers. The women finished 17th among a 19-team field and the men came in with a 15th place finish.

Please check back into The Scarlet throughout the next several weeks to follow your favorite Cougars and their teams as they compete for the NEWMAC tournament championships. You can also find highlights and statistics from every single matchup on the Clark University Athletics page and get live updates while the action is happening on their social media pages.