CASTINE, Maine – Maine Maritime Academy volleyball claimed the 2017 North Atlantic Conference Volleyball Championship, defeating Colby-Sawyer College on Saturday afternoon, 3-1 (25-21, 14-25, 25-18, 25-13) inside of Smith Gymnasium.
The Mariners clinched their second-straight NAC Championship, the program's sixth overall, and earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Volleyball Tournament.
The Mariners improve to 20-12 on the season and will learn their opponent in the NCAA Tournament during the NCAA Volleyball Selection Show scheduled for Monday, November 6. The Chargers conclude their season at 14-19.
The Mariners jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first set, led by three aces from Hannah Butland (Cumberland, Maine), forcing the Chargers to use an early timeout. The Chargers battled back to take a 16-15 lead later in the set and the two teams exchanged the lead back-and-forth until the Mariners used a three-point run, capped off by a Jessica D'Auria (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.) ace on set point, to give the top seed the 25-21 set victory.
Colby-Sawyer came back strong to start the second set with a 12-4 lead, forcing the Mariners to use both timeouts early in the set. Maine Maritime fought back to close the gap to 16-12, but the Chargers called a timeout and answered with a four-point run to take a 21-13 advantage and took the set 25-14 following three-straight points.
Maria Perez (San Juan, Puerto Rico) tallied an ace to tie the third set at 6-6 but the two teams exchanged the lead numerous times until the Chargers faced a 13-11 deficit and used their first timeout. The Mariners built an 18-11 lead on nine-straight points, highlighted by two aces from Alexa Cacacie (Manahawkin, N.J.) forcing Colby-Sawyer to use their second timeout. The Chargers came back to close the gap to 21-18 after a pair of kills from Naarah Cox but the Mariners scored four-straight to close out the set with a 25-18 victory.
The Mariners claimed the championship by defeating the Chargers 25-13 in the final set, using a nine-point run to close out the set and take the victory.
D'Auria earned Tournament MVP honors after leading the Mariners with 11 kills and also added seven digs, four aces and a block. Sydney Adams (Trumbull, Conn.) led the Mariners with 26 assists and also contributed seven digs and two kills. Melissa Spaulding (Fairbanks, Alaska) led the Mariners with 11 digs, and also tallied a pair of aces.
Perez concluded the afternoon with 10 digs, two assists, two aces and a kill to earn All-Tournament honors and teammate Cacacie tallied seven kills, five digs, three blocks and two aces to also earn All-Tournament honors.
Courtney Murray led the Chargers with 11 kills, while Rebecca Straubel led all players with 15 digs to grab All-Tournament honors and also contributed six kills and two aces and Naarah Cox chipped in with 10 kills, three blocks and a dig to earn All-Tournament honors as well.
Olivia Goodrich led all players with 31 assists, and had five digs, two kills, an ace and a block and Alli Lahiff added 14 digs and six kills.
2017 North Atlantic Conference Volleyball All-Tournament Team
New England College – Emma Kowalka
Husson University – Bailey Cote
Colby-Sawyer – Rebecca Straubel
Colby-Sawyer – Naarah Cox
Maine Maritime Academy – Alexa Cacacie
Maine Maritime Academy – Maria Perez
MVP - Maine Maritime Academy – Jessica D'Auria