AMHERST, MA - Despite losing to archrival Williams College in the NESCAC Championship finals, the Amherst College volleyball team has earned an at-large bid to the Division III NCAA Tournament. The Lord Jeffs will take on Rivier College in the opening round Thursday, Nov. 8 at 3:30 p.m. on the campus of MIT.
Amherst kicked off its season with an 11-match winning streak en route to its second consecutive 27-4 mark heading into the NCAA Tournament. All four of the Jeffs' losses came by 3-2 margins, while 20 of their 27 victories were 3-0 shutouts.
The Rivier Raiders (25-11) earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with a 3-2 win over Johnson & Wales University in the Great Northeast Atlantic Conference Championship, marking their second conference title in five years. The Lord Jeffs opened their 2007 season with a 3-1 victory over Rivier in day one of the Roger Williams Invitational, winning by scores of 30-19, 30-18 and 30-25, with the Raiders taking the second game, 30-26.
A win against Rivier could give the Jeffs another shot at Williams (27-7), who is paired up with Eastern Connecticut State University in the first round. ECSU won the Little East Conference Championship with a record of 11-26 and enters the NCAA Tournament on a four-match winning streak.
MIT earned hosting rights after posting a 33-2 record and runner-up finish in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference Championship, as the top-seeded Engineers were upset by No. 2 Wellesley College (27-6). MIT could see Wellesley in the second round, but it would need to first advance past Maine Maritime Academy (17-5), the North Atlantic Conference champion, while Wellesley would need to defeat the Commonwealth Coast Conference champion, Endicott College (26-10).
Amherst defeated Emmanuel College in the opening round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament before falling to regional host MIT in the second round, 3-1.
New England Regional Championship Schedule (All Matches Played at MIT)
Thursday, Nov. 8
Match 1: No. 4 Wellesley vs. No. 5 Endicott (1 p.m.)
Match 2: No. 3 Amherst vs. No. 6 Rivier (3:30 p.m.)
Match 3: No. 2 Williams vs. No. 7 ECSU (6 p.m.)
Match 4: No. 1 MIT vs. No. 8 Maine Maritime (8:30 p.m.)
Friday, Nov. 9
Match 5: Winner of Match 2 vs. Winner of Match 3 (4:30 p.m.)
Match 6: Winner of Match 1 vs. Winner of Match 4 (7 p.m.)
Saturday, Nov. 10
Winner of Match 5 vs. Winner of Match 6 (7 p.m.)