Volleyball Tournament Preview: #3 Mammoths Battle #6 Ephs in Quarterfinals

Volleyball Tournament Preview: #3 Mammoths Battle #6 Ephs in Quarterfinals

HADLEY, Mass. – Amherst College has earned the number three seed in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) postseason, and the stage is set for a first-round matchup against rival Williams College on Friday night at 8:00 PM.

The 2018 NESCAC Volleyball Championship will be hosted by Bowdoin College this weekend.  Quarterfinal round action gets underway on Friday, November 2. Semifinal matches will be played on Saturday, November 3, followed by the championship game on Sunday, November 4.


Live Coverage

All of this weekend's games will be live broadcast on the Mammoths Sports Network, powered by NSN. Games can be accessed by going to amherstmammoths.tv. In addition, live stats will be available for all games, with links in the championship central page.

Setting the Scene

Amherst (20-4, 8-2 NESCAC) secured the No. 3 seed for the 11th time overall and the first time since 2016 with a victory over Bates during the last weekend of the regular season. The Mammoths, who have appeared in every NESCAC Tournament field since 1999, are looking to advance to the semifinals for the sixth straight season.

Amherst has won three NESCAC titles, the last in 2006, and enters the NESCAC Championship on a five-game winning streak.

Williams (12-11, 5-5 NESCAC) have also been in every NESCAC Championship since 1999 and have won nine titles, the most of any school. Williams' last NESCAC Championship came in 2014. The Ephs are the No. 6 seed for the second time, the other year being 2010. Williams is seeking a semifinal appearance for the first time since 2015.

The Ephs are 8-2 against the Mammoths in NESCAC Championship play. The two teams last met in the 2015 semifinals, with Williams pulling out a 3-2 victory. During the regular season, Amherst posted a 3-1 win over the Ephs at Amherst on October 13.

Scouting Amherst College

  • Amherst boasts the best hitting percentage in the league (.260), and first year Sophie Launsbach is in the top 25 in the country with a .363 hitting percentage.
  • Charlotte Duran '20 has 778 assists, good for second in the conference. Her 10.51 assists per set leads the league and is good for 20th in the country.
  • Emily Kolsky '20 has racked up 271 kills, fourth-most in the NESCAC. She is third in the league with 3.43 kills per set.
  • Sophomore Jamie Dailey is also a top-five player in the conference with 3.28 kills per set and 259 total kills.
  • Defensively, Skyleur Savage '22 leads the team with 320 digs and Claire Dennis '20 has 58 total blocks, the fifth most in the conference.
  • Senior Hayes Honea has 31 service aces and just five service errors on the year.

Scouting the Rest of the Tournament Field

Bowdoin (24-1, 10-0 NESCAC) grabbed the No. 1 seed with a tightly contested 3-1 win over Wesleyan during the final weekend of the season. The Polar Bears, who are the top seed for the third time, won both of their NESCAC titles as the No. 1 seed in 2011 and 2015. Bowdoin went unbeaten in the NESCAC for the second time in program history (2011) and is averaging a league-best 13.78 kills per set. The Polar Bears are looking to advance to the semifinals for the eighth consecutive season.

No. 8 Trinity (13-10, 2-8 NESCAC) are making their first appearance in the NESCAC Championship since 2014, the last time they were the No. 8 seed. Trinity is seeking its first semifinal appearance since 2011. Bowdoin holds a 2-0 advantage in the NESCAC postseason series, with the last meeting between the two teams taking place in the 2013 quarterfinals. The Polar Bears swept the Bantams, 3-0, at Bowdoin on October 5 during the regular season.

Wesleyan (16-4, 9-1 NESCAC), the defending NESCAC Champion, is the No. 2 seed for the second straight season and fourth time overall. The Cardinals won the program's first NESCAC title last year and are making their third straight championship appearance. Wesleyan has one of the top all-around defenses in the conference, averaging a league-best 19.46 digs per set and ranks second in blocks per set (1.68).

The Cardinals will face No. 7 Bates (14-8, 4-6 NESCAC) to open tournament play. Bates is making its fourth straight appearance in the NESCAC Championship and is the No. 7 seed for the second time in three years. The Bobcats are looking for their first NESCAC postseason victory since 2003. Bates closed out the regular season winning five of its last six matches en route to the program's most overall wins (14) since 2009. Bates is 2-1 against Wesleyan in the NESCAC Tournament, but the two squads last met in the 2002 quarterfinals, with the Bobcats recording a 3-2 win. This season, Wesleyan defeated Bates, 3-1, at Wesleyan on October 13.

The last quarterfinal matchup pits No. 4 Middlebury (17-5, 7-3 NESCAC) against No. 5 Tufts (15-9, 6-4 NESCAC). Both teams have appeared in every NESCAC Championship field. The Panthers are the No. 4 seed for the fifth time overall, with the last time being in 2015. Middlebury has won three titles (2010, 2012, 2016) and is looking to advance to the semifinals for the third time in four years. The Panthers enter the tournament riding a five-match win streak and rank second in the league in kills per set (13.34). Tufts, last year's runner-up, has one NESCAC Championship to its credit, winning the title in 1996. The Jumbos are the No. 5 seed for the third time overall and the first time since 2015. Tufts closed out the regular season winning four of its last five matches, as it seeks a trip to the semifinals for the third straight year. The Panthers own a 4-0 advantage in the NESCAC postseason series, including a 3-2 victory over the Jumbos and the teams last met in the 2016 championship game. This season, the Panthers posted a 3-1 win at Middlebury on October 12.

2018 NESCAC Volleyball Tournament – Hosted by Bowdoin

Quarterfinals - Friday, November 2
No. 1 Bowdoin vs. No. 8 Trinity - 5 p.m. Court 1
No. 2 Wesleyan vs. No. 7 Bates - 5 p.m. Court 2
No. 3 Amherst vs. No. 6 Williams - 8 p.m. Court 1
No. 4 Middlebury vs. No. 5 Tufts - 8 p.m. Court 2

Semifinals - Saturday, November 3
No. 1/8 seed winner vs. No. 4/5 seed winner - 1 p.m.
No. 2/7 seed winner vs. No. 3/6 seed winner - 3:30 p.m.

Championship - Sunday, November 4
Semifinal winners - 12 p.m.

Results from the NESCAC Volleyball Championship will be posted at NESCAC.com each day.