CENTERVILLE, Mass. – The top four seeds in the Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III New England Volleyball Championship won their quarterfinal matches on Wednesday and will descend on Merriman Gymnasium on the campus of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., to battle for the title this weekend.
The host Bears, who swept No. 8 seed Framingham State 25-17, 25-11, 25-13 in a quarterfinal matchup to improve to 24-6 overall, are the top seed in the tournament. Coach Eric Snyder is in his first season at the helm, leading Coast Guard to a share of the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference regular-season crown with an 8-1 conference mark. Through 29 matches, Kelsey DePorto and Keriann Mason are the team’s top offensive weapons with 292 kills (2.68 kps) and 277 (2.54), respectively. Setter Karen Matic dishes 7.80 assists per set. Coast Guard’s best offense is perhaps its defense as the Bears average 14.24 digs and 1.86 blocks, led by Sam Marmolejo (4.29 dps), Mason (3.06 dps) and DePorto (0.93 bps). The team is 11-0 at home this season.
No. 2 Plymouth State bounced No. 7 Western New England 25-22, 21-25, 25-20, 25-22 and now stands 24-10 going into the weekend. The Panthers have a balanced offense that averages 12.26 kills, led by Casey Stoodley (3.34 kps), Allie Jones (2.43), Meghan Sullivan (1.92), Kaitlyn Tedeschi (1.85) and Elissa Morin (1.71). Sarah Cady has notched over 1,000 assists this season, averaging 9.35 per set. Like Coast Guard, Plymouth State is another solid defensive team. The Panthers average 14.11 digs and 1.28 blocks. Danielle Stoodley has compiled 521 digs, or 4.49 digs per set. Six players have registered at least 20 blocks. First-year coach Chris Kilmer has a 56-59 career record in four seasons.
Third-seeded Endicott outlasted No. 6 Emmanuel in a five-set thriller on Wednesday, winning 25-23, 23-25, 25-20, 20-25, 15-13. The Gulls (16-15) use their defense to ignite the offense, evidenced by 15.83 digs and 1.61 blocks per set. Ashley Norley (4.73 dps) and Hannah Dahlgren (0.77 bps) are the leaders in those two categories. Setter Sarah Allshouse does a solid job of finding the open hitters by connecting for 950 assists (8.26 aps). Offensively, Elyse Barbour and Callie Dolan have 257 and 217 kills, respectively, but Alexandra Gearin has a higher average at 2.79. Head coach Tim Byram has compiled a 240-179 (.573) record at the school since 1999.
Keene State came from behind to edge Salve Regina in a No. 4/5 quarterfinal matchup, 26-24, 21-25, 22-25, 25-15, 15-11. The 19-13 Owls are led offensively by Bridget O'Bryant, who spikes 3.38 kills per set (.259 attack pct.) as part of a unit that records 11.28. She is complemented by fellow senior Ellyse Davis, who averages 2.62 kills and attacks at a .370 clip, and Laurie Whalen who contributes 9.39 assists per set. Keene State appears to be the most defensive-minded team in the final four field with 17.31 digs and 1.57 blocks per set. The Owls have three players who have recorded over 300 digs: O’Bryant, 489 (4.25 dps); Kristen Girard, 369 (3.18); and Sammy Dormio, 303 (3.26). Coach Bob Weiner has a 160-89 (.643) record at the school as part of a 24-year career mark of 401-357.
Round – Saturday, November 12 (at Coast
Guard, New London, Conn.)
No. 1 Coast Guard vs. No. 4 Keene State, 11 a.m.
No. 2 Plymouth State vs. No. 3 Endicott, 2 p.m.
Championship Match – Saturday, November 12 (at Coast Guard, New London, Conn.)
Two Semifinal Winners, 5 p.m.
Team-by-team comparisons (statistics are set averages):
|Team||Kills||Pct.||Asts||Aces||Digs||Blks||Final 4 Rec.||Last 10|
|CGA||11.5||.231||10.6||1.7||14.2||1.9||1-0 vs. field||9-1|
|PSU||12.3||.246||9.9||2.0||14.1||1.3||1-0 vs. field||8-2|
|EC||10.3||.161||9.2||1.7||15.8||1.6||1-1 vs. field||6-4|
|KSC||11.3||.224||10.5||1.9||17.3||1.6||0-2 vs. field||7-3|