April 14, 2012
NASHUA, N.H. - The top-seeded Rivier College Raiders won their fifth-straight Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship, defeating Emmanuel College, 3-0 on Saturday afternoon in Rivier's Muldoon Center. The Saints, who were playing in their fourth championship match in the five-year history of the tournament, fell to the Raiders in three sets, 25-20, 25-20, 25-16. Rivier will receive the GNAC's first automatic bid to the 2012 NCAA Division III tournament.
The Raiders were led throughout the playoffs by the strong play of the tournament MVP junior Steve Visentin (Cheshire, Conn.). Visentin had 33 assists in today's championship game. Sophomore Aaron Almario (Alhambra, Calif.) registered 15 kills and 3 blocks. Defensively the Raiders were led by senior captain Chris Convertito (Trumbull, Conn.), who led the team with 7 digs.
For the Saints, junior captain Nick Updike (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) turned out the best all-around performance for the visitors, as he totaled 5 kills, 22 assists, 2 digs, and a match-high .556 hitting percentage. Offensively the Saints were led on the court by freshman hitter Ashanti Jackson (Sacramento, Calif.), who tallied a team high 10 kills and 10.5 overall points. Senior Tim Ramistella (Westport, Conn.) was the dig leader with 6, while freshman Cody Diehl (Derry, N.H.) had 4.
The 2012 GNAC All-Tournament team was announced following the match. Tournament MVP Steve Visentin was joined by Convertito and senior Andrew Corwin (Framingham, Mass.) on the All-Tournament Team for Riv. Also named to the team was Carlos Torres of Albertus Magnus, Don Dias of Johnson and Wales and both Updike and senior Alexander Petty (Wayland, Mass.) of Emmanuel.
The Saints end their season at 17-12. Rivier improves to 26-8 after impressive undefeated run against all GNAC opponents this season. The Raiders will now for the NCAA pairings to be released early next week.