MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The Wesleyan University women's volleyball team returns to the NESCAC Championships for the first time since 2010 as it enters the postseason tournament with a 15-7 overall record and 6-4 conference mark, earning the No. 6 seed. The Cardinals will face off against third-seeded Amherst College Friday, November 8 at 8 p.m. on the campus of Tufts University.
The tournament begins Friday night with four quarterfinal matches, followed by two semifinal matches on Saturday and the finals held Sunday, Nov. 9 at 12 p.m. The Jumbos earned the No. 1 seed after posting a perfect 10-0 NESCAC record (22-2 overall) and will host the entire three-day tournament. All seven games will be broadcasted by the Northeast Sports Network (NSN), and can be viewed HERE.
Wesleyan will see Amherst College for the second time in less than a week. If the Cardinals win, they will face the winner of No. 2 Middlebury/No. 7 Bates in the semifinals Saturday, Nov. 5 at 3:30 p.m. In their last meeting against Amherst, the Purple & White edged Wesleyan at home, 3-2 (23-25, 25-18, 18-25, 25-20, 15-8) to claim the Little Three title. Amherst is second in the NESCAC in digs per set (18.87) and assists per set (11.22), and third in kills per set (11.87). The Purple & White have qualified for all 18 NESCAC Tournaments and are 23-14 (.622) all-time, including three conference championships, while the Cardinals return for the 13th time and are 4-12 in the tournament.
AT A GLANCE: NO. 6 WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY
- The Cardinals have tripled their amount of wins from a year ago. After going 5-15 overall and 1-9 in the conference last season, Wesleyan finished the 2016 regular season campaign with a 15-7 overall record and 6-4 NESCAC mark in head coach Ben Somera's second season at the helm of the program.
- The six NESCAC wins are the most for the Cardinals since the 2008 campaign, when they finished 8-2 during the regular season.
- Wesleyan defeated Hamilton (3-1), No. 2 Middlebury (3-2), Trinity (3-2), Colby (3-0), No. 8 Conn. College (3-1) and No. 5 Williams (3-2).
- The Cardinals feature an impressive freshman class that is led by Nicole Hilton and Gabby Bennett. Hilton ranks second in the conference with a .326 hitting percentage and sixth in blocks per set (0.91), while averaging 2.23 kills per set. Bennett is currently sixth in the league in hitting percentage (.293) and seventh in blocks per set (0.86). Both players earned NESCAC Player of the Week honors this season.
- Wesleyan boasts a talented group of setters headlined by Kaira Muraoka-Robertson '20, who leads the team in assists with 6.73 per set; eighth best in the NESCAC. Audrey Konow '20 has also seen a lot of playing time at the position and is averaging 5.95 assists per set.
- Defensively, the Cardinals rely on veteran leadership in senior co-captain Rachel Savage, as well as newcomer Olivia Guidotti '20. Guidotti currently ranks ninth in the league with 3.93 digs per set, while Savage averages 2.62.
- As a team, Wesleyan ranks third in the NESCAC in hitting percentage (.206) and blocks per set (1.99), and fourth in service aces (178)
2016 NESCAC WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
Quarterfinals - Friday, November 4 (at Tufts)
No. 8 Conn. College at No. 1 Tufts – 5 p.m. l Video
No. 7 Bates vs. No. 2 Middlebury – 5 p.m. l Video
No. 6 Wesleyan vs. No. 3 Amherst – 8 p.m. l Video
No. 5 Williams vs. No. 4 Bowdoin – 8 p.m. l Video
Semifinals - Saturday, November 5 (at Tufts)
Winner of 4/5 vs. Winner of 1/8 - 1 p.m. l Video
Winner of 3/6 vs. Winner of 2/7 - 3:30 p.m. l Video
Championship - Sunday, November 6 (at Tufts)
Semifinal 2 Winner vs. Semifinal 1 Winner - 12 p.m. l Video