NCAA BOUND - Women's Volleyball Earns At-Large Bid to 2016 NCAA Championship

NCAA BOUND - Women's Volleyball Earns At-Large Bid to 2016 NCAA Championship

Springfield, Mass. - November 7, 2016 – The Springfield College women's volleyball team is headed to the NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship for the seventh-consecutive year and will play Endicott in the opening round at 12:30 pm on Friday, November 11 at Tufts University in Medford, Mass. 

Springfield, the third-seed in the regional bracket, was one of 20 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, making the conference one of just four amongst the 44 conferences nationwide to have at least three teams in the women's volleyball championship.

In her sixth season at the helm of the Pride, head coach Moira Long has led the Pride to a 27-5 record this season as this marks the eighth time in the last nine seasons that Springfield has earned a spot in the national tournament. In her previous five years with Springfield, Long has guided the Pride to the NCAAs each year, going to NCAA Elite Eight in 2011, advancing to the NCAA Regional Semifinals in 2012 and 2013, earning a sport in the NCAA Regional Quarterfinals in 2014, and reaching the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2015.

Heading into this year's NCAA Championship, Springfield is one of only two teams in the nation to rank in the top 10 in team blocks per set and top 15 in team hitting percentage.

Endicott earned an automtic bid into the NCAA Championship after winning their fifth Commonwealth Coast Conference title.  The Gulls own a 22-11 record and have won its last seven matches, including a three-set win over WNE in the championship match.  Senior outside Tori McIntyre is the two-time CCC Player of the Year, while Tim Byram recently earned his third CCC Coach of the Year honor.  Earlier this season, Springfield swept Endicott in the Tom Hay Invitational on October 7 by the scores of 25-23, 25-14, 25-19.  Lauren Holt (Granby, Conn.) paced Springfield with 11 kills and seven blocks while hitting .435, and Hayley Kmetz (Ardsley, N.Y.) racked up a match-high 12 kills at a .345 clip to go along with five blocks of her own.    

The winner of this match will take on the winner of the contest between second-seeded MIT (28-4) and seventh-seeded Framingham State (22-11).  The remainder of the regional is as follows: fourth-seeded UMass Boston (28-4) will play fifth-seeded Johnson & Wales (33-0) and top-seed and host Tufts (24-3) will take on eighth-seed Maine Maritime (22-8) on Friday.  

Of the 64 teams in the field, Springfield has played 10 of them, with wins over Tufts, Stevens, Middlebury, Montclair State, Clark, Endicott, and Framingham State.  The Pride had setbacks this season to national qualifiers Texas-Dallas, Colorado College, MIT, and Clark.