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Top Four Seeds Move Forth to Thursday's GNAC Women's Volleyball Tournament Semifinals


The top four seeds earned quarterfinal victories on Tuesday night in the 2016 GNAC Women's Volleyball Tournament to set the stage for Thursday evening's semifinals.

#1 JWU 3, #8 SUFFOLK 0
PROVIDENCE, RI – The quest for a second-straight GNAC Tournament championship started Tuesday night for the Johnson & Wales University women's volleyball team. The top-seeded Wildcats are one step closer after a 3-0 (25-12, 25-13, 25-12) win against the number eight seed Suffolk. 

Suffolk: 11-15
Johnson & Wales: 31-0

Statistical Leaders:
Brylee Frank (JWU): 30 Assists, 4 Aces, 6 Digs
Maria Coniglio (JWU): 10 Kills, 6 Digs
Kate Walker (JWU): 8 Kills, .727 Hitting %, 2 Blocks

Of Note:
Coming off its lowest hitting performance of the season over the weekend versus Albertus Magnus, the nation's top hitting team was back above .300 as the Wildcats out-hit the Rams .457-to-.015. JWU also had the advantage for digs (35-19) and aces (12-1).

Johnson & Wales established the tone in the first set. The Wildcats jumped out to a 10-1 lead in set one thanks to five aces. In the second set it was an early service run by Elizabeth Hamilton (Canton, Mass.) that put JWU up 6-1. She added an ace later in the set to establish an 18-8 lead. The Rams hung around in the third set, tying it at 5-5, but a 14-5 run by the Wildcats put the match out of reach.

Setter Brylee Frank (Palm City, Fla.) kept the Rams' blockers off balance with her set distribution as five different players had five or more kills. Frank had 30 assists and a team-high four aces to go along with six digs. JWU had 12 aces –its second-highest total of the season –but also committed 12 service errors.

Leading the Wildcats' offense was freshman outside hitter Maria Coniglio (Old Bethpage, NY) with 10 kills. Middle blockers Kate Walker (Oakland, Calif.) and Emily Kalmink were next with eight kills each. Walker, the nation's most accurate hitter, hit .727.

Just like the offensive variety, JWU's defense was also equally distributed with five players recording six or more digs. Freshman libero Gianna Esposito (Larkspur, Calif.) had a match-high nine digs.

For Suffolk, middle blocker Chidera Nwankwo had a team-high four kills. Liz Kerek notched a team-best six assists and Bridget Allison posted six digs to lead the Rams.

Next Game:
Johnson & Wales moves on to Thursday's semifinals where it will face #4 Simmons at 7 p.m. in the Wildcat Center.

Courtesy of JWU Athletics Communications.

Nashua, N.H. - The second seeded Rivier University Women's Volleyball team advances to their 14th consecutive Great Northeast Athletic Conference Tournament Semifinals with a 3-0 win over visiting #7 Emmanuel College in the GNAC Quarterfinal matchup this evening inside the Muldoon Gymnasium. The win sets a new program record for the Raiders as they are 30-3, the first 30 win season in school history, while Emmanuel finishes the 2016 campaign with an 11-22 overall record.

Rivier advances after taking the three sets by scores of 26-24, 25-19 and 25-18.

Senior Lauren Silverman (Chelmsford, Mass.) paved the way for the Raiders as she had 13 kills, a .579 hitting percentage and eight total blocks. Classmate Dana Mott (Medway, Mass.) also registered 13 kills on the evening and senior Molly McCormack (Ballston Lake, N.Y.) contributed with five kills and 13 digs. Sophomore Hayley Macken (Clifton Park, N.Y.) guided the Radier offense with 35 assists and junior libero Bethany Trevino (Westminster, Colo.) controlled the back line with 19 digs.

The Saints were led by senior Cassie Chruscielski (Duluth, Minn.) who had five kills and both freshman Marissa Cataldo (Melrose, Mass.) and senior Kaitlyn Atkinson (Brookline, N.H.) added four kills apiece. Freshman Samantha DeMarco (Rockland, Mass.) dished out a team high nine assists with sophomore Carly Church (Higganum, Conn.) providing additional help with 6 assists. Senior Sarah Schemerhorn (Los Angeles, Calif.) led the defensive efforts with 17 digs.

Up next will be a Semifinal contest here inside the Muldoon on Thursday evening against #3 Anna Maria College. The AMCATS (21-10 overall) enter the semifinals after eliminating #6 Saint Joseph's College (Maine) in five sets. Game time is set for 7pm.

Courtesy of Rivier Athletics Communications.

PAXTON, Mass. — Sophomore Amari King (Lawrence, Mass.) finished with 39 kills and 24 digs to lead the third-seeded Anna Maria College volleyball team to a 3-2 victory over the sixth-seeded Monks of Saint Joseph's College in Tuesday Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) quarterfinal.

The win marks the first GNAC postseason victory for the AMCATS in program history. They improve to 21-10 on the season and advance to Thursday's semifinal match at No. 2 Rivier. The Monks see their season end with a 12-13 record.

With her performance tonight, King becomes the AMCAT first player in program history to eclipse 500 kills in a single season. She entered tonight's game 15 kills away from the milestone and now sits at 524 on the season. Coupled with her freshman season, King owns 815 career kills.

The AMCATS won the first two sets handedly by scores of 25-12 and 25-16. The AMCATS hit at an incredible .414 as a team in the first set, tallying 14 kills and just two errors. They added a .256 hitting effort in the second set on the strength of 15 kills, four errors.

The Monks took an early lead in the third set to set the tone and managed to stifle a few AMCAT rallies along the way. A four-serve streak by Victoria Huntley (Ellsworth, Maine) midway through the frame helped open a 14-10 lead for the Monks, who managed to keep a four-point margin until the AMCATS closed it to two points at 20-18 on a monster block by King and Alyssa Goulet (Lawrence, Mass.). Anna Maria was unable to close the gap fully though, and Saint Joseph's claimed the 25-22 victory.

The Monks took an early 8-1 lead in the fourth set en route to another 25-22 victory to force a deciding fifth set. In the decider, Anna Maria took 3-1 lead on a kill by King. Anna Maria took back-to-back points on a Monks service error and a service ace by King to take a 7-4 lead, which forced the Monks to call time out.

Anna Maria took a four-point lead on a kill by Rebecca Foti (Bedford, Mass.) out of the timeout, and led 10-5 following a Monks' attack error. King stole the finale, rattling off three-straight kills for points 13, 14, and 15 to win the final set 15-9.

In addition to King's stellar performance, the AMCATS received a 16-kill, 15-dig effort from Foti. Freshman setter Tierney Clancy (Meriden, Conn.) dished out 59 assists, served three aces, and scooped up 11 digs.

Defensively, libero Carolina Garcia (Springfield, Mass.) tallied 35 digs, followed by Demi Carrero (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) with 14.

Foti and Goulet both served four aces apiece.

As a team, Anna Maria totaled 66 kills and hit at .193

The Monks were paced by Huntley with 18 kills and 14 digs. Shadai Gosselin (Somersworth, N.H.) chipped in with 11 kills and 23 digs, while Jordynne Copp (Cumberland, Maine) added 10 kills.

The Monks made their biggest impact in the match at the net, where they combined for 12 blocks on the day. Chatham Mills (Gorham, Maine) finished with four solo blocks and two assisted blocks, while Copp had a solo block and four block assists.

Defensively, libero Jennelle Thompson (Farmington, N.H.) recorded a match-high 40 kills.

As a team, the Monks hit a .110 on the evening and totaled 42 kills.

The AMCATS advance to Thursday's GNAC semifinal match at second-seeded Rivier. Match time is set for 7:00 p.m. Rivier defeated Anna Maria 3-0 in the regular season on October 8th.  

Courtesy of Anna Maria Athletics Communications.

BOSTON, Mass. – First year outside hitter Morgan Weeg (Goodyear, Ariz.)spiked for a match-high 15 kills and picked up 12 digs to lead the fourth-seeded Simmons College women's volleyball team to a 3-1 (22-25, 26-24, 25-18, 25-22) victory over visiting number five seed Lasell College this evening in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship Tournament Quartfinals at Moore Gymnasium in Boston, Mass. The Sharks have won eight of their last 10 matches and improve to 12-11 on the season, while the Lasers fall to 12-19. 

Simmons advances to the semifinals for the sixth time and fifth in the last six years and will travel to Providence, R.I. on November 3 to take on top-seeded Johnson & Wales University, a 3-0 winner over Suffolk University, in a 7:00 p.m. match. 

The Sharks dropped the opening set, but regrouped to take the final three frames to secure the win. 

Weeg also added a pair of aces and an assisted block to her 14th double-double for Simmons and senior middle blocker Abby Hart (Westfield, Mass.) swung for 11 kills on a .333 hitting percentage to go with four digs and a solo block. First year middle blocker Allie Erk Thompson (Canton, Mass.) hit .429 on the night and put down eight kills in addition to picking up four digs and getting up for two blocks. Senior libero Alex Itasaka (Bradford, Mass.) got down for a match-high 33 digs and also reeled off a pair of long service stretches that were crucial to the Sharks' win. First year setter Kenna McCarthy (Shelter Island, N.Y.) doled out 37 assists and picked up a pair of digs. 

Sophomore middle blocker Olivia Addington (Orange, Calif.) led Lasell with 14 kills and added 12 digs, while junior rightside hitter Michele Canestro (Castleton, N.Y.) put down 13 kills, in addition to nine digs and a match-high four aces. Junior setter Taylor Tiezzi (Meriden, Conn.) directed the offense for the Lasers with 32 assists and registered 10 digs for a  double-double to go with two aces. Junior libero Caitlyn Garcia (Moreno Valley, Calif.) picked up 20 digs and fired three aces. 

Lasell looked poised to tie the match in the fourth set, jumping out to a 12-6 lead behind four kills from Canestro. Weeg put down a kill for Simmons to put Itasaka on the service line and spark an 11-0 run that included two more kills from Weeg to give the home team a 17-12 lead. The Lasers chipped away at the deficit and closed to within 21-19 following a Canestro kill and kept it a two-point set at 24-22, before Lasell's 15th service error of the night gave the Sharks a 25-22 set win and the match victory. 

Simmons scored the first four points to open the match, but Lasell ripped off 10 unanswered points, including a pair of aces from Canestro, to take a 10-4 advantage in the opening set. The Sharks rebounded to take a 14-13 edge, following a 10-3 burst, paced by two kills each from junior rightside hitter Amber Peterson (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Erk Thompson. Simmons maintained its single-point margin at 18-17, but the Lasers scored four straight points to take a 21-18 lead. The Sharks later closed to 23-22, but Lasell scored the final two points to take the frame and a 1-0 match lead. 

Lasell opened an early 7-4 cushion in the second set, but Simmons put together an 11-4 stretch, as Erk Thompson and Weeg combined for four kills, to give the higher seed a 15-11 lead. The Lasers ripped off six straight points, led by two aces and a kill from Canestro, to take a 17-16 edge. The teams were later tied at 22-all and again at 24-24, before the Sharks got back-to-back kills from senior outside hitter Kat Guillotte (New Bedford, Mass.) and Weeg to take the two-point set triumph. 

The Lasers began the third set the same as the previous frame, with a 7-4 lead. Addington put down two kills to lead the opening push for the visitors. Lasell later owned an 11-9 margin, but Itasaka toed the service line for Simmons and saw the Sharks score the next nine points, including three kills from Weeg, to take an 18-11 advantage. The Lasers later narrowed the gap to 19-16, but it was as close as they would get as Simmons scored six of the final eight points, including a pair of kills from Erk Thompson to take a 25-18 win for a 2-1 match lead.

Courtesy of Simmons Athletics Communications.