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WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL POISED FOR GNAC TOURNEY RUN

WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL POISED FOR GNAC TOURNEY RUN

BOSTON, Mass. – Seventh-seeded Emmanuel College (9-17, 6-6 GNAC) will travel to second-seeded Rivier University (25-6, 11-1 GNAC) in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Women's Volleyball Tournament Quarterfinal game at the Muldoon Center on Tuesday, October 30th at 7:00 PM.

OVERVIEW:

Tuesday's winner advances to the semifinal round of the GNAC tourney and will face the victor of the No. 3 Colby-Sawyer College / No. 6 Simmons University quarterfinal on Thursday, November 1st.

The other quarterfinal contests within the conference bracket consist of No. 1 Johnson & Wales University versus No. 8 Saint Joseph's College (ME) and No. 4 Lasell College versus No. 5 Suffolk University. The winner of the GNAC Championship game, which will be played on Saturday, November 3rd, earns an automatic berth into the 2018 NCAA DIII Women's Volleyball  Championship, which begins on Friday, Nov. 9th.

SEASON AT A GLANCE:

Emmanuel:

  • The Saints posted a 7-5 record during the month of September, including a 4-0 start in GNAC play before a tough October that saw the program drop 12 straight matches.
  • EC ranks fifth in the GNAC in kills per set, averaging just under 10 kills a frame at 9.76.
  • The Saints ended the regular-season on a high note with a GNAC sweep over Regis College and University of Saint Joseph to clinch the GNAC tourney berth after failing to qualify for the post-season in 2017.

Rivier:

  • The Raiders enjoyed a strong offensive campaign ranking second in the GNAC with kills per set (12.29) while also ranking second in aces per set (2.74).
  • Rivier open the year with a 5-5 mark through 10 matches and has since posted a 20-1 record with their only loss in that time coming at the hands of Johnson & Wales University.
  • During that run, only five of the 20 victories have gone to four sets, with the other 15 wins coming in 3-0 sweeps for Raider nation.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Emmanuel:

  • Senior outside hitter Mary Shelow (Miami, Fla.) – Shelow is the Saints go-to offensive weapon, leading the team while ranking third in the GNAC with 3.31 kills per set. She recently recorded her 1,000th career kill to become just the fifth player in program history to reach the milestone.
  • Senior setter Cary Church (Higganum, Conn.) – Church has stepped in this season and averaged 7.87 assists per set. When she is able to establish a balanced offense, the Saints click at the net.
  • Senior liber Katharine Journeay (Hampton, N.H.) – Journeay is the squad's most reliable player in the back-row and also joined the EC Grand Club earlier this season with her 1,000th career dig.

Rivier:

  • Senior middle hitter Courtney Collins – Always a threat in the middle, Collins averages 2.51 kills per set but more importantly, leads the GNAC in conference play averaging 1.08 blocks per set against GNAC foes.
  • Senior setter Hayley Macken – Currently ranks second in the GNAC averaging 9.44 assists per set and has balanced the offense to allow her teammates to hit at a .208 clip on the year.
  • Junior outside hitter Taylor Dunster – Leads the Raiders in kills with 261 winners on the year (2.66 k/s), with 12 matches with 10+ kills.

COACHES' CORNER:

Emmanuel Head Coach Denitra Seals is now in her 13th year with the Saints as a Head Coach and will make her 12th trip to the GNAC tournament. She was named the GNAC Coach of the Year in both 2013 and 2014.

Rivier Head Coach Craig Kolek is no stranger to the GNAC tournament, now in his 19th year as the Women's head coach. Kolek has compiled over 400 wins with the women and captured six GNAC titles. 

THE LAST TIME WE MET:

Rivier posted a 3-0 (25-21, 25-16, 25-14) victory over the Saints on October 11 in Boston on the Andy Yosinoff Court. Rivier combined to hit .244 as a team while holding the Saints to a dismal hitting percentage. Shelow led all players with 10 kills while Dunster paced Rivier with eight kills.

HISTORICALLY SPEAKING:

Emmanuel is 18-20 all-time versus Rivier University and has dropped 11 of the last 12 to the Raiders including a 3-0 loss in the 2016 GNAC Quarterfinals.

POSTSEASON HISTORY:

Tuesday marks the 13th meeting between the two programs in GNAC tournament action with Rivier owning an 8-4 record in the 12 meetings to date. The squads have faced off three times in the GNAC quarterfinals, with Rivier owning a 3-0 wins in 2007 and 2016 and Emmanuel taking the meeting in 2000, 3-0. In five GNAC semifinals meetings, Rivier is 4-1 against Emmanuel with wins in 2015, 2011, 2008 & 2002 with the Saints taking the meeting in 2004. The other four meetings have come in GNAC Championship games with the Saints claiming the crown in 2005 & 2006 while the Raiders earned wins in 2003 & 2007.

The Raiders are 33-12 all-time in GNAC tournament play with Championships in 2003, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013 & 2014 while Emmanuel is 24-15 with Championships in 2004, 2005 & 2006.

COVERAGE:

To watch the game live, visit https://portal.stretchinternet.com/ecsaints/ and click on the watch button.