Eastern Nazarene College Women’s Volleyball clinched the NECC Championship and advanced to the NCAA National Championship tournament. The team had an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament and lost 3-0 to Tufts University, ranked number 13, on Friday, November 15.
The Volleyball team finished with a 17-6 record overall and a perfect 7-0 record in the conference this season. They won their two playoff games against Mitchell 3-2 and the championship game against New England College 3-1.
Their biggest success was the chemistry between the players on the team to help them get the home-court advantage through the playoffs. Head Coach Derek Schmitt said, “We played tough teams that were non-conference, and our biggest success was beating Plymouth State that went 30-5 this season.” But their most significant challenges were early on in the season when they lost their first three games. They went through several lineup changes to find one that worked the best for the team. After a tough start, they went on to win six straight games. Schmitt credits the players for working hard and overcoming the early season failures and also credits the chemistry they had to help stay strong and together through it all.
Their strongest opponent during the season was Wellesley, and that same team is also going to the NCAA tournament. Schmitt said, “our conference wasn’t easy either, even going 7-0 in it, we had to work hard and really work for those games to win.” This schedule prepared them for the playoffs so they were not scared at all of who they were going to play.
Next season, the volleyball team will have three returners that will be seniors.
Schmitt stressed their success as due to, “recruiting goes all year, and we were blessed enough to stay pretty healthy throughout the year,” remarked the coach, and, “Having 12 players we couldn’t afford to have injuries.” They won their two playoff games against Mitchell 3-2 and their championship game against New England College 3-1.