Williams College finished off NESCAC action on Saturday afternoon with a 3-0 victory over Tufts to cap a perfect 10-0 season as the Ephs will head into the 2006 NESCAC Volleyball Championship with the number-one seed and the right to host this year's tournament. The three-day championship kicks off on Friday, Nov. 3, in Williamstown, Mass., with quarterfinal action beginning at 6:00 p.m. The 2006 NESCAC Volleyball Championship will conclude with the final on Sunday, Nov. 5.
Williams (23-6, 10-0 NESCAC) will look to earn its fifth NESCAC championship this decade and seventh in the history of the tournament on Friday night when they open up against eight-seeded Middlebury (13-14, 3-7 NESCAC). The two teams met this past week in conference action on Wednesday night at Middlebury with Williams coming away with a 3-0 win, securing the Ephs the number-one seed in this year's tournament. Only a few days earlier, Williams defeated Middlebury 3-0 in the Hall of Fame Invitational on Oct. 20. During last year's championship at Colby, Williams advanced out of the quarterfinal round but lost in the semis to eventual-champ Colby, while Middlebury was upended by Trinity. Against this year's tournament field, the Ephs hold an 8-2 record, while the Panthers are 1-8.
Four teams finished tied for second behind Williams in the standings, Amherst, Connecticut College, Tufts and Wesleyan. Of those four teams, Amherst and Wesleyan emerged initially as both the Jeffs and the Cardinals posted 2-1 records against the other three opponents. Wesleyan (18-8, 7-3 NESCAC) earned the second seed over Amherst thanks to a hard-fought 3-2 victory at Amherst on Sept. 16. The Cardinals will take on the Polar Bears of Bowdoin (20-10, 4-6 NESCAC). Bowdoin will be the seventh seed at this year's tournament, returning to the field after missing out on the championship last year. While the Polar Bears are only two wins shy of their best record ever, they come into next weekend having lost their last four matches. The lone meeting between Wesleyan and Bowdoin came on Friday, Oct. 27, with the Cardinals winning 3-0 at home. Wesleyan holds a 5-4 record against this year's tournament field, while Bowdoin is 1-7.
Third seed Amherst (24-4, 7-3 NESCAC) is set to face sixth seed Trinity (16-6, 6-4 NESCAC). The Jeffs raced out to a 19-1 start before going 5-3 over the past two weeks, while the Bantams have been one of the hottest teams as of late after winning their last nine games, including their last six conference matches after starting the NESCAC schedule with four losses. The two teams have faced each other twice this season, with Amherst taking the first meeting, a 3-2 non-conference victory on Sept. 30, before Trinity responded with a win of its own, 3-2 on Oct. 24. Against the field this year, Amherst is 8-3 while Trinity is 4-6.
After Wesleyan and Amherst earned the second and third seeds, respectively, the last two spots in this year's field were left to be filled by Connecticut College and Tufts. Although both teams finished with identical 7-3 conference records and fell behind Amherst and Wesleyan after the first round of tiebreakers, it was Tufts that emerged in the comparison to Connecticut College for the fourth seed thanks to a 3-1 Jumbos victory over the Camels in New London, Conn., on Oct. 17. Fourth seed Tufts (23-7, 7-3 NESCAC) will take on fifth seed Connecticut College (19-8, 7-3 NESCAC) on Friday at Williams. Tufts has finished as the runner-up at the NESCAC championship in each of the last two years, falling last year to Colby. Tufts is 5-3 against the championship field this season, while Connecticut College is 5-4.
Founded in 1971, The New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) consists of 11 liberal arts colleges and has consistently reflected its commitment to the values of athletics and academic achievement. The member colleges of the conference are Amherst College, Bates College, Bowdoin College, Colby College, Connecticut College, Hamilton College, Middlebury College, Trinity College, Tufts University, Wesleyan University, and Williams College. For more information on the NESCAC, visit www.nescac.com.
You may be able to watch matches live at www.d3cast.com
2006 NESCAC VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Quarterfinals - Friday, November 3 at Williams
No. 8 Middlebury at No. 1 Williams - 6:00 p.m.
No. 7 Bowdoin vs. No. 2 Wesleyan - 6:00 p.m.
No. 6 Trinity vs. No. 3 Amherst - 8:00 p.m.
No. 5 Connecticut College vs. No. 4 Tufts - 8:00 p.m.
Semifinals - Saturday, November 4 at Williams
Winner No. 1/No. 8 vs. Winner No. 4/No. 5 - 1:00 p.m.
Winner No. 2/No. 7 vs. Winner No. 3/No. 6 - 3:30 p.m.
Championship - Sunday, November 5 at Williams
Semifinal winners - 1:00 p.m.