2017 NCAA D-III Volleyball Championships Bracket
Emory University has been selected as one of eight institutions to serve as host sites for the opening rounds of the 2017 NCAA D-III Volleyball Tournament. The Eagles are one of 64 programs who will be competing for this year's national crown.
Emory will host an eight-team field as part of the Atlanta Regional. Action at the Woodruff PE Center begins on Thursday (Nov. 9) with four quarterfinal-round battles, followed by Friday's semifinals. The championship clash will take place on Saturday evening.
Emory's opening-round foe will be Worcester State University from the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference. Emory enters the Atlanta Regional as the No. 1 seed while Worcester State is No. 8.
The winner of the Atlanta Regional will advance to next weekend's national quarterfinals in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The schedule for the Regional is as follows with times listed as Eastern Standard.
Thursday, Nov. 9
Match 1 – 12:30 pm – Birmingham Southern vs. Covenant College
Match 2 – 3:00 pm – Berry College vs. Hanover College
Match 3 – 5:30 pm – Christopher Newport vs. Thomas More
Match 4 – 8:00 pm – Emory vs. Worcester State
Friday, Nov. 10
Match 5 – 4:30 pm - Match 1 winner vs. Match 2 winner
Match 6 – 7:00 pm – Match 3 winner vs. Match 4 winner
Saturday, Nov. 11
7:00 pm – Championship Match
The Eagles of head coach Jenny McDowell earned an at-large bid to the year's NCAA Tournament, the 22nd straight season (23rd overall) that the program will be playing in the postseason. Emory, 27-6 on the year, is coming off a runner-up-finish at the University Athletic Association Championships, posting a 3-0 triumph vs. Case Western Reserve in its opening contest before coming away with a 3-2 verdict over No. 9 Carnegie Mellon in the semifinals. In the title showdown, No. 19 Washington University registered a 3-1 win.
Emory head coach Jenny McDowell checks into the NCAA Tournament with a school and career record of 712-159. She recorded her 700th career win on October 5 following a sweep of Oglethorpe University.
McDowell has led the program to five appearances in the national semifinals, a national championship in 2008 and national runner-up finishes in 2010 and 2014. She has registered a 45-21 ledger in NCAA Tournament action (Emory's all-time mark in the NCAA Tournament is 45-22).
Worcester State will square off against Emory with a 26-8 overall record. The Lancers, led by 13th -year head coach Bernie Chase, earned an automatic bid the NCAAs after winning their first-ever MASCAC Tournament. A key member of the WSU team is junior setter Allie Nolan, who ranks as her conference's leader in assists at 9.45 assists per set.
Christopher Newport (27-3), the No. 4 seed, landed an automatic spot in the postseason after claiming the Capital Athletic Conference Championship this past weekend, defeating Mary Washington, 3-2, in the finals. With 16th-year head coach Lindsay Birch (Christopher Newport, 2002) calling the shots, CNU is making its 11th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.
The No. 5 seed in the Emory Regional, Thomas More heads into its meeting with Christopher Newport with a record of 29-5. The Saints punched their ticket to the postseason as an automatic qualifier following the championship run in the President's Athletic Conference Tournament, defeating Westminster College in four sets. John Spinney is in his second stint and 11th season as head coach of the program and enters the Regional with a school record of 259-101, which includes nine seasons of 20 or more wins. This will be Thomas More's 14th trip to the postseason.
No. 2-seeeded Berry College stands 28-6 overall following three wins that allowed it to bring home the Southern Athletic Association Championship, thus landing an automatic spot in the national tourney. The Vikings are led by head coach Caitlyn Moriarty, who is in her second season at the helm of the program. Prior to her current post, she served as an assistant on the Berry staff from 2012-15.
Hanover College (26-5), a member of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, comes to Atlanta as the No. 7 seed. The Panthers earned their way into the postseason after winning the HCAC Tournament Championship for the first time in 10 years, sweeping Rose-Hulman in the finals. Hanover, led by 18th-year head coach Peter Preocanin, is making its second-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament, with its initials appearance coming in 2007.
Birmingham Southern, the No. 3 seed, is an at-large member of this year's field after coming in second to Berry at the SAA Tournament Championships. First-year head coach Haven O'Quinn has guided the Panthers to an overall record of 20-8.
The No. 6-seeded Scots of Covenant College (24-7) won the USA South Athletic Conference Tournament, defeating the top-seeded team from the East, Averett, 3-2. Joanna Ehman is in her fifth year as head coach and enters the Regional with a school and career slate of 110-54.
EMORY AND THE NCAA FIELD – Emory played a total of 15 regular-season matches against 12 teams that advanced to this year's NCAA Tournament Championship, finishing with a 9-6 ledger in those encounters. The following demonstrates how the Eagles have done this year vs. teams that made the NCAA Tourney.
Johns Hopkins: 1-0
Illinois Wesleyan: 1-0
Covenant College: 1-0
Washington University: 0-2
Carnegie Mellon: 1-1
Birmingham Southern 1-0
EAGLES RACKING UP THE HONORS -- The following is a list of various honors that Emory players have received this season
Emory Classic All-Tournament Team (Sept. 8-9)
Morgan McKnight (MVP)
Emory National Classic All-Tournament Team (Oct. 15-16)
Morgan McKnight (MVP)
Emory National Classic All-Tournament Team (Oct. 27-28)
Sara Carr (MVP)
CARR STEPS UP – Sophomore Sara Carr has emerged as one of the Eagles' top offensive threats, with 13 consecutive matches of double-figure kills to her credit. This past weekend at the UAA Championships, Carr averaged a team-high 3.91 terminations over 12 sets of action, including a career-high 22 kills in the five-set decision over Carnegie Mellon. She also managed to register a career-best 28 digs against the Tartans, her eighth performance of double figures in that category.
So far this year, Carr has registered a team-high tying 19 matches of double-figure kills. She paces the team and is No. 3 among UAA players in kills average (3.28 kps), and her hitting percentage of .263 ranks 11th on the league ladder. She has also given the Eagles a boost defensively with her 2.39 digs-per-set average second on the team and 20th among UAA players.
McKNIGHT AN OFFENSIVE FORCE – Sophomore Morgan McKnight has been a key offensive cog in the Emory attack this season and will head into the NCAA Atlanta Regional tied with Sara Carr for the team lead with 19 matches of 10 or more kills.
Last weekend at the UAA Championships, she pounded out a career-high tying 16 terminations in the win over Carnegie Mellon and ended that contest hitting .400 (11-1—25), the 12th time this year she registered an attack percentage of .300 or higher. McKnight, who has ranked as the squad's leader in kills in 10 matches this year, stands seventh among UAA players in kills average (2.93 kps).
Career-wise, McKnight has racked up 25 matches of double-figure kills and totaled 572 successful attack attempts.
THOMPSON GIVES EMORY DEFENSE A BOOST – Sophomore Elyse Thompson stands in the No. 2 spot on the conference chart with a 5.25 digs-per-set average, with that mark currently a school season record. The 5-foot-7 libero has come up with 28 matches of double-figure digs in her 31 outings, including nine with 20 or more and six of 30 or more.
At the UAA Championships, she averaged a team-high 5.58 digs-per-set, leading the club in that category in all three matches. One of her performances saw her notch 34 digs in the victory over Carnegie Mellon.
THE LAST TIME – Emory will be hosting the NCAA Regionals for the first time since 2013 when it captured the Atlanta Regional with victories over Agnes Scott College, Berry College and Colorado College, sending the club to the NCAA Championships where it advanced to the semifinals.
NOTES – Elyse Thompson leads the squad with 45 service aces and has nine matches of two or more to her credit … Enter the Regional, the Eagles have registered 218 service aces to the opposition's 118 … Senior Hannah Billings doled out a season-high 37 assists in the Carnegie Mellon match, her second-highest career total … Emory closed out the Carnegie Mellon contest with 128 digs, the second time this year it reached triple digits in that category and which represented the program's second-highest total in school history … Emory has finished with an edge in hitting percentage in 27 of 33 matches this season … Freshman Leah Saunders heads into the Worcester match on Thursday with double-figure kills in her last four and in a total of 16 contests this season … After hitting a .blazing .588 (12-2—17), the high-water mark by an Emory player this year, in the sweep of Case Western Reserve in the UAA quarterfinals, Saunders followed that effort with a season-high 16 kills against Carnegie Mellon … Emory's loss to Washington University in the finals of the UAA Championships was the program's first loss at home in 14 outings this year and snapped a 23-match win streak at the Woodruff PE Center … Emory leads the UAA in opponent hitting percentage (.140) … The Eagles top the UAA and stand third among all D-III schools in assists per set (13.03 aps) … Emory has swept 20 opponents this year … The Eagles show a 4-3 record in five-set matches … Since 2014, Emory owns a 51-4 slate in home matches.