PREVIEW: Off To The Dance - Volleyball returns to New Haven for first NCAA Tournament

MANCHESTER, N.H. - After securing the first NCAA Tournament berth in program history, the No. 7 seed Saint Anselm College volleyball team returns to the University of New Haven to face No. 2 seed Molloy College in the quarterfinals of the 2017 NCAA Division II Women's Volleyball Championship's East Regional on Thursday afternoon.

LINKS: East Regional Tournament CentralInteractive NCAA Bracket | NCAA Tournament Field Release

Saint Anselm earned an at-large bid into its first-ever East Regional after compiling a 16-12 record so far in 2017 that includes an 8-6 mark in the Northeast-10 Conference. The Hawks advanced to the semifinals of the 2017 NE10 Volleyball Championship, recording the program's first victory in the tournament by defeating Bentley in five sets on the road in the quarterfinals, before falling in another five-setter to Southern Connecticut State in the semifinals at Charger Gymnasium.

Like Saint Anselm, Molloy is in the NCAA Tournament for the first time after putting together the finest season in program history. Under first-year head coach Kevin DesLauriers, the Lions improved from 6-24 in 2016 to 25-5 in 2017, setting the program record for wins in a season in the process. Molloy won the program's first-ever East Coast Conference (ECC) Championship on its home court with victories over Bridgeport (W, 3-0) and NYIT (W, 3-2) to secure an automatic bid into the regional.

Other quarterfinal matchups include No. 3 LIU Post vs. No. 6 American International, No. 1 New Haven vs. No. 8 Caldwell and No. 4 NYIT vs. No. 5 Southern Connecticut. A full match schedule for the entire regional with video and stat links for each match can be found below. The winner of the match between the Hawks and Lions will face either LIU Post or American International in Friday evening's first semifinal at 5 p.m.

Tickets for the 2017 NCAA Division II East Region Volleyball Championship will go on sale 60 minutes prior to the first match on each day. All ticket sales will take place at the Box Office located in the lobby of Charger Gymnasium. Ticket prices are $5 for adults and $3 for children and students (with valid ID).

Saint Anselm Tale of the Tape Molloy
16-12 Record 25-5
8-6 (6th) Conference Finish 12-2 (1st)
NE10 Semifinals Postseason Result ECC Champions
1st NCAA Appearances 1st
At-large NCAA Bid Automatic
302-471-1 (.391) All-Time Record 281-515 (.353)
1889 Founded 1955
1,968 Enrollment 4,563
Manchester, N.H. Location Rockville Centre, N.Y.
4 All-Conference Picks 4
1,297 (12.35) Kills (per set) 1,501 (13.40)
0.218 Attack Pct. 0.221
1,217 (11.59) Assists (per set) 1,404 (12.54)
182 (1.73) Aces (per set) 202 (1.80)
1,574 (14.99) Digs (per set) 1,928 (17.21)
172.0 (1.64) Blocks (per set) 169.0 (1.51)

 

SCOUTING SAINT ANSELM

  • Saint Anselm boasts the NE10's top offense in terms of hitting percentage, leading the conference hitting at a .218 clip. Sophomore middle blocker Madison Sollows ranks second in the conference and 44th in all of Division II (.342) and earned All-NE10 Third Team honors after being an All-Rookie Team selection last season.
  • Senior Katy Teets paces the Saint Anselm offense in kills (310) and kills per set (2.98), ranking tied for ninth in the conference in kills and 10th in kills per set. On Nov. 11, the senior became just the third student-athlete in program history to reach the 1,000-kill milestone and her career total of 1,037 leaves her 50 shy of second in program history.
  • Teets, a Second Team All-NE10 selection, is also one of the top servers in the country, ranking 15th nationally in aces per set (0.53), a figure that leads the NE10. Her hitting and serving prowess help Teets rank sixth in the conference in points per set (3.72).
  • In her sophomore season, outside hitter Catherine McCarthy has posted 13 double-digit kill performances, including seven in a row from Sept. 2-12. McCarthy has matched her career-high with 17 kills on three occasions this season, including the NE10 Championship quarterfinal at Bentley.
  • Junior setter Jewel Hays joined Teets on the All-NE10 Second Team after posting the third-best assists-per-set mark in the conference (9.35). Hays has 10 matches this season with at least 40 assists and had back-to-back 40-assist, 20-dig performances in the NE10 Championship, including a season-high 57 assists in the quarterfinals against Bentley.
  • Freshman middle blocker Holly Manchester received NE10 All-Rookie Team honors and leads all NE10 freshmen in blocks per set (0.90), a mark that ranks sixth overall in the conference.
  • The Hawks' 36 victories since the start of last season are the most in consecutive years for the program since 1999 and 2000 (37 wins). Saint Anselm has posted three winning seasons in the last four years after nine-straight losing seasons. Head coach Braden Zamore is the second-winningest coach in program history with 45 victories over his three seasons leading the Hawks.

SCOUTING MOLLOY

  • Molloy enters the NCAA Tournament on a seven-match winning streak with its last loss coming to Southern Connecticut on Oct. 23. The Lions went 15-1 at home this season and their 25 victories surpassed their combined total from the last three seasons (24).
  • The Lions were well-represented in the ECC All-Conference Teams, bringing home three of the league's major awards. DesLauriers was named the ECC Coach of the Year after guiding Molloy to its first 20-win season, while freshman Kacey Affrunti was the conference's Rookie of the Year and senior Dakota O'Neill was the Libero of the Year.
  • Affrunti is seventh in the ECC in both kills per set (3.00) and attack percentage (.277) in her rookie season and has 18 double-digit kill performances to her credit. Her 324 kills this season are fourth-most in program history.
  • In her senior season, O'Neill's mark of 5.75 digs per set is over one dig per set more than any other ECC student-athlete and ranks 21st in Division II. She has recorded double-digit digs in 28-of-30 matches this season and 25 in a row, including a season-high 37 against N.Y.I.T. on Sept. 20. Her 633 digs this season are second-most in a single season at Molloy.
  • Sophomore Carly Banks is Molloy's leader in kills per set (3.90), which ranks third in the ECC and 37th nationally. She has surpassed 20 kills in five matches this season and her season total of 425 kills is already 62 more than the previous all-time record at Molloy.
  • After setting a program record with 915 assists last season as a freshman, setter Sophia Smith broke her own record this season with 1,218 as a sophomore. Smith leads the ECC and ranks 31st in Division II in assists per set (10.97) while helping the Lions to an ECC-best hitting percentage of .221.
  • Defensively, Molloy ranks third in the ECC in blocks per set (1.51), second in digs per set (17.21) and third in opponents hitting percentage (.159).

INSIDE THE SERIES

Thursday afternoon's match will be the fifth head-to-head meeting between Saint Anselm and Molloy. The Hawks have won all four previous matches against the Lions, dropping just one set, with all four matches occuring on neutral courts.

9/9/16 - Saint Anselm 3, Molloy 0 (at East Stroudsburg)
9/12/15 - Saint Anselm 3, Molloy 0 (at East Stroudsburg)
9/11/04 - Saint Anselm 3, Molloy 1 (at Southern Connecticut)
10/19/02 - Saint Anselm 3, Molloy 0 (at Southern Connecticut)

Match Schedule

November 30, 2017 | Quarterfinals
Match 1: No. 3 LIU Post (28-5) vs. No. 6 American International (21-10) | 12:00 p.m. | Watch Live | Live Stats 
Match 2: No. 2 Molloy (25-5) vs. No. 7 Saint Anselm (16-12) | 2:30 p.m. | Watch Live | Live Stats 
Match 3: No. 1 New Haven (23-7) vs. No. 8 Caldwell (25-7) | 5:00 p.m. | Watch Live | Live Stats
Match 4: No. 4 NYIT (25-8) vs. No. 5 Southern Connecticut (23-10) | 7:30 p.m. | Watch Live | Live Stats 

December 1, 2017 | Semifinals
Match 5: Winner Match 1 vs Winner Match 2 | 5:00 p.m. | Watch Live | Live Stats 
Match 6: Winner Match 3 vs Winner Match 4 | 7:30 p.m. | Watch Live | Live Stats 

December 2, 2017 | Championship
Match 7: Winner Match 5 vs Winner Match 6 | 7:00 p.m. | Watch Live | Live Stats