Friday's Match: Maine Maritime Academy (24-3) vs. Johnson & Wales University (27-4), 12:30 p.m., Cousens Gymnasium, Tufts University, Medford, Mass.
Series History: This is the third meeting between the Wildcats and Mariners, but the first in the NCAA Tournament.
The Mariners have participated at the JWU-hosted Providence NCAA Regional the last two seasons, but the two teams have not squared off.
The Wildcats have won both of the regular season matchups, including a 3-0 win in the last meeting on September 8, 2017.
Last Meeting: September 8, 2017: Johnson & Wales 3 – Maine Maritime 0 (25-12, 25-9, 25-16)
Johnson & Wales picked up a 25-12 victory in the first set, used four-straight points to close out the second set with a 25-9 victory, and five-straight points midway through the final set to take a 25-16 victory.
Jessica D'Auria (Hopewell Junction, N.Y) led the Mariners with 11 kills, five digs and a block, Maria Perez (San Juan, Puerto Rico) tallied eight digs, two kills and two assists, and Sydney Adams (Trumbull, Conn.) led the Mariners with 22 assists, while also adding seven digs, two kills and a block.
Hannah Dolan led the Wildcats with 11 kills, teammate Brylee Frank led all players with 31 assists and the team with seven digs.
How They Got Here: Maine Maritime won the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Championship Title on Sunday, defeating SUNY Canton 3-0, to advance into the national tournament for the fourth-straight year, while Johnson & Wales captured the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship on Saturday, defeating Rivier 3-0.
The Mariners: Maine Maritime averages 11.97 kills per set, hitting .209 percent as a team, 11.15 assists, 3.98 aces and 12.93 digs per set.
This season the Mariners have competed in 27 matches, for a total of 88 sets. Out of the Mariners' 24 wins, 20 have been straight-set wins.
Outside hitter Rachel Melampy (Marshfield, Mass.) leads the Mariners with 288 kills (3.89 k/s), libero Maria Perez leads the Mariners with 312 digs (3.90 d/s), opposite hitter Avery O'Neal (Burbank, Calif.) leads the team with 74 aces (0.88 sa/s), setter Sydney Adams leads the team with 779 assists (9.74 a/s) and Alexa Cacacie (Manahawkin, N.J.) ranks first on the Mariners in blocks with 45 total blocks, including 14 solo blocks.
Coming into the tournament the Mariners rank second in the nation in team service aces, while leading NCAA DIII with 4.00 aces per set. Senior Avery O'Neal ranks sixth among D3 players with 0.86 aces per set, while teammate Alexa Cacacie ranks sevenths with 0.84 aces per set.
The Wildcats: The Wildcats average 13.17 kills per set, while hitting .270 percent as a team, 12.17 assists, 2.31 aces, and 16.36 digs per set.
Johnson & Wales has competed in 31 matches, for a total of 104 sets. Out of the team's 27 wins, 20 have been won in straight-sets.
Outside hitter Maria Coniglio leads the Wildcats with 319 kills this season (3.36 k/s), defensive specialist Elyssa Nicolas leads the team with 444 digs (4.72 d/s), setter Brylee Frank leads the team with 926 assists (9.96 a/s) and 41 aces (0.44 sa/s). Middle blocker Kate Walker leads the Wildcats with 79 total blocks, including 25 solo blocks and also leads the team with a .443 hitting percentage.
Johnson & Wales has advanced to the regional final the last two years and took home the title in 2017.
Coming into the tournament, the Wildcats rank fourth in the country with a .270 hitting percentage. Senior Kate Walker leads the nation with her .443 hitting percentage.
Like Opponents: Both teams faced three similar opponents during their regular seasons.
Tufts: The Mariners fell to Tufts University 3-0 (25-15, 25-8, 25-19) on Saturday, September 28.
Alexa Cacacieled the Mariners with six kills, three digs, an ace and a block, while both Rachel Melampy and Jessica D'Auria. contributed five kills, D'Auria also added five digs, and four aces. Maria Perez tallied a match-high 15 digs to go along with an assist and Sydney Adams led the match with 20 assists, and added a dig and a block.
The Wildcats also fell to Tufts University 3-0 (25-21, 25-13, 25-15) on Saturday, September 28.
Senior outside hitter Maria Coniglio led the Wildcats, tallying 11 kills and 12 digs, while classmate Kate Walker followed up with 10 kills. Elyssa Nicolas chipped in with 11 digs and Brylee Frank contributed 27 assists.
Bowdoin: The Mariners fell to Bowdoin College 3-1 (25-16, 24-26, 25-11, 25-15) on Saturday, September 28.
Rachel Melampy led the Mariners with 13 kills and added three digs, two assists, two aces and a block, Jessica D'Auria added 10 kills, six digs, and two aces and Maria Perez contributed a team-high 14 digs, to go along with two assists and two aces. Sydney Adams tallied a double-double with a match-high 33 assists and 13 digs, to go with two kills, an ace and a block.
The Wildcats also fell to Bowdoin College 3-1 (19-25, 25-20, 25-15, 26-24) on Saturday, September 28.
Kate Walker led JWU with 13 kills, hitting .367 percent, Maria Coniglio recorded 12 kills, 9 digs and a solo block. Brylee Frank led the Wildcats with 25 assists and contributed 14 digs, while Elyssa Nicolas tallied a match-high 25 digs.
Saint Joseph's College of Maine: Maine Maritime defeated Saint Joseph's College of Maine 3-0 (25-15, 25-15, 25-22) on Saturday, August 31.
Alexa Cacacie led the Mariners with 11 kills, five aces, a dig and a block, while Avery O'Neal tallied a match-high 10 digs to go along with eight kills, six assists and two aces. Maria Perez contributed nine digs and three assists and Jessica D'Auria added eight kills, two aces and a dig. Adams tallied a match-high 28 assists to go with seven kills, four digs and a block.
Johnson & Wales also defeated Saint Joseph's College of Maine, 3-0 (25-13, 25-16, 25-11) on October 26.
The Other Matches: New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference champ Babson College (32-1) versus Little East Conference winner University of Massachusetts Boston (12-18) at 3:00 pm
NESCAC runner-up Bowdoin College (18-7) will take on Commonwealth Coast Conference winner Endicott College (23-7) at 5:30 pm
The New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) champion Tufts University (27-1) will face New England Collegiate Conference champion Eastern Nazarene College (17-6) at 8:00 pm.
The Regional Schedule:
Friday, November 15
Game 1: Johnson & Wales vs. Maine Maritime - 12:30pm
Game 2: Babson vs. UMass. Boston - 3:00pm
Game 3: Bowdoin vs. Endicott - 5:30pm
Game 4: Tufts vs. Eastern Nazarene - 8:00pm
Saturday, November 16
Game 5: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 - 2:30pm
Game 6: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 - 5:00pm
Sunday, November 17
Regional final will be played at 1:00pm between the winners of Games 5 and 6.
Tickets: Ticket prices will be $8 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens. They will be on sale one hour prior to the start of the first match each day. Both cash and card payments will be accepted.
For the Interactive Tournament Bracket - click HERE.
For the Printable (PDF) Tournament Bracket - click HERE.
For the NCAA Selection Release - click HERE.
For the NCAA Selection Show Reply - click HERE.
For the Tufts Regional Hosting Press Release - click HERE.
For the Tufts Division III Regional Website - click HERE.