MARSHFIELD, Mass. – It came down to the last match of the regular season, but newcomer Eastern Nazarene College (8-1) has earned the No. 1 seed in the 2018 New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Women’s Volleyball Championship. The Lions were awarded the top seed by virtue of a tiebreaker with Elms College (Eastern Nazarene defeated Elms in head-to-head competition). The Lions led the conference in kills per set (11.58) and assists per set (10.58), led by rookie Ruth Aguilar’s (Tegucigalpa, Honduras) 3.52 kills per set in conference. Eastern Nazarene will host the eighth seeded Mitchell College on Tuesday, October 30 at 7:30 p.m. The Mariners (2-7) finished the regular season in a three-way tie with Dean College and Lesley University. It took several tiebreaking procedures to determine the seeds, with Dean coming away with the seven seed (results against higher-ranked opponents) and Mitchell taking the eight seed (Mitchell defeated Lesley in head-to-head competition). The match-up will feature two of the most dangerous servers in the conference, as Aguilar leads the league with 0.90 service aces per set, with Mitchell’s Cameron Childs (Gainesville, Fla.) right behind with 0.78 service aces per set in conference play.
Defending champion Elms took a share of the NECC regular season title, and the second seed in the tournament. The Blazers have seen strong defensive play from Kianna Lozada (Bayamon, P.R.) who is averaging a league-best 6.62 digs per set in conference play. Elms will host No. 7 Dean on October 30 at 7:00 p.m. The Bulldogs expect Kait Anderson (Clinton, Conn.) to make an impact, as she is top ten in the league in kills per set, with 2.41.
Due to their win over New England College on October 9, Southern Vermont earns the No. 3 seed after finishing the regular season tied with the Pilgrims with a 7-2 record. The Mountaineers’ Liv Sowles (Sacramento, Calif.) will be dangerous in the postseason, as she leads the conference in kills per set, with 4.25. Southern Vermont will host the No. 6 seed, Bay Path University on October 30 at 7:00 p.m. Bay Path will hope to counteract Sowles with Lydia Clifford (Coventry, R.I.), who averages 3.06 kills per set in conference play.
No. 4 seed New England College will host No. 5 Becker College (5-4) on October 30 at 7:00 p.m. The Pilgrims have seen strong play from rookie Tihani Ehia (Kaneohe, Hawaii), who averages 3.00 kills per set in NECC play. It will be an interesting match-up, with Becker leading the conference in digs per set with 23.57, behind freshman Joanna Bampi’s (Peabody, Mass.) 6.00 per set in league play.
The winners of the first round games will move on to semifinal play on Friday, November 2. The winners of the semifinal games will then face off in the NECC Championship on Sunday, November 4 at the highest remaining seed.