BROOKLINE, Mass. - Wildcats freshman Lydia Clifford (Coventry, R.I.) finished with a match-high 11 kills, bringing Bay Path back from an early deficit in a 3-1 (21-25, 25-20, 25-20, 25-19) victory over the Newbury Nighthawks on Saturday afternoon in New England Collegiate Conference play.
Clifford added 15 digs, three aces, and a block for Bay Path. Senior Lexi Cears (Agawam, Mass.) finished with 10 kills, 15 digs, and five aces. Senior Taylor Heinbokel (Agawam, Mass.) added nine kills.
Nighthawks sophomore Stephanie Rheaume (Hampton, N.H.) led the team with nine kills. Sophomore Monica Bolduk (Vernon, Conn.) added eight kills while freshman Sophia Ortiz (Arlington, Tenn.) finished with a career-high seven kills to go with three aces. Freshman Halie Sanders (McDonough, Ga.) finished with five aces.
The Nighthawks took momentum in the opening set, gaining a margin with the help of a 8-2 run to lead 14-8. The Wildcats closed within two points on separate occasions but the Nighthawks were able to close the set out with a Bolduk kill. Newbury hit a team-high .241, winning the first set 25-21.
Scoring runs were the story of the second set, with Bay Path using an early 8-2 run to lead 11-7. The Nighthawks responded with an 11-4 run to take a three-point lead, 18-15. But the Wildcats won 10 of the final 12 points, stealing the set away from the Nighthawks. Bay Path hit a match-best .259 in the second, winning the set 25-20.
In the third, scoring streaks continued to be the theme. The Nighthawks used a 7-2 run to take an 18-16 lead, but again the Wildcats won nine of the 11 points to take the set away. Cears clinched the third with one of her five aces, giving the Wildcats the third, 25-20.
In the final set, Bay Path took the initiative with eight straight points to take an eight-point lead, 17-9. The Nighthawks looked as if they were going to recover, scoring five in a row to trail 17-14. But the Wildcats stopped any thought of a comeback for Newbury, closing the match by winning the last three points. Bay Path took the fourth 25-19, winning the match 3-1.
The win moves the Wildcats to 5-8 (1-1 NECC) while the loss drops the Nighthawks to 2-9 (0-2 NECC).
The Nighthawks return to play next Saturday with a 4:00 p.m. match at Southern Vermont. Bay Path plays again on Tuesday, traveling to Lesley for a 7:00 p.m. match.