The Maine Maritime Academy women's volleyball team will take on UMass Boston in the opening round of the NCAA National Tournament this Friday at Springfield College.
UMass Boston (27-4) won their second consecutive Little East Conference championship on Saturday with a 3-1 victory over Keene State College. The Beacons went undefeated (7-0) in conference play and will enter the regional tournament as the #2 seed.
Maine Maritime (18-9) won their fourth consecutive North Atlantic Conference title on Saturday beating Husson 3-0. The Lady Mariners continued their dominance over NAC foes, going undefeated for a second straight season in conference play. MMA will enter the regional tournament as the #7 seed.
Friday's meeting will be the first ever between these two programs. The Beacons received 10 votes in the most recent Division III American Volleyball Coaches Association national poll.
The Lady Mariners are led by two time NAC Player of the Year Chelsea Ward who has amassed 380 kills on the year with a hitting percentage that is a gaudy .367%. Ward also leads the Lady Mariners with 4.57 kills per set which ranks her in the top 10 nationally. Freshman Melissa Lail earned NAC Rookie of the Year honors while collecting 250 kills and 60 service aces in her freshman campaign.
The Lady Mariner defense is anchored by Libero, Lauren Sakahara, who leads the team with 424 digs and was named the NAC Defensive Player of the Year. Setter Jenn Dixon leads MMA with 732 assists and 77 aces on the year. Head Coach Katrina Dagan was recently named the NAC Coach of the Year for the second straight season and has accumulated 129 wins and just 65 losses in her eight years at the helm.
The Beacons are 82-17 over the past three seasons and have enjoyed considerable success under the guidance of head coach Terry Condon. Shannon Thompson leads the team with 421 kills and 89 total blocks. Corrine Porter has had an outstanding season as well, collecting 311 kills and 321 digs. Cassey Hanneman leads the UMass Boston attack with 657 assists and 53 service aces while Bethany Rossoll leads the defense with 411 digs.