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NCAA BOUND - Women's Volleyball Earns At-Large Bid to 2018 NCAA Championship

NCAA BOUND - Women's Volleyball Earns At-Large Bid to 2018 NCAA Championship

Springfield, Mass. - November 5, 2018 – The Springfield College women's volleyball team is headed to the NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship for the eighth time in the last nine years and will play Maine Maritime in the opening round on Friday, November 9 at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. 

Springfield, the third-seed in the regional bracket, was one of 19 teams from across the nation to receive an at-large bid.  The Pride will be joined by two other New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) institutions in the tournament, as both Babson and Wellesley will compete on the national stage.  In fact, the NEWMAC is just one of four conferences in the entire country with at least three times competing in the NCAA, joining the CAC, MIAC, and UAA. 

In her eighth season at the helm of the Pride, head coach Moira Long has led the Pride to a 23-7 record this season as this marks the seventh time she has brought a Springfield team to the national tournament. In her previous seven years with Springfield, Long guided the Pride to NCAA Elite Eight in 2011, the NCAA Regional Semifinals in 2012 and 2013, the NCAA Regional Quarterfinals in 2014, and the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2015 and 2016.

Maine Maritime earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Championship after winning their third-straight North Atlantic Conference title in a three-set sweep of SUNY Canton on Saturday.  The Mariners own a 22-6 record on the season and were led by Alexa Cacacie  in the title match as she totaled 14 kills, four blocks, and a dig, to earn Tournament MVP honors.

The winner of the Springfield/Maine Maritime march will take on the winner of the contest between second-seeded Wesleyan (17-5) and seventh-seeded Kean (19-15).  The remainder of the regional is as follows: fourth-seeded Franklin & Marshall (23-7) will play fifth-seed New Paltz (26-8) and top-seed and host Johnson & Wales (31-1) will take on eighth-seed Eastern Connecticut State (23-6) on Friday.  

Springfield and Maine Maritime have played just once before, coming in the first round of 2008 NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship when the Pride prevailed 25-10, 25-16, 25-10 at Tufts University on November 13.  In that match, then-NEWMAC Athlete of the Year Heather Lively totaled 17 kills on a .517 hitting percentage to lead the way.