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Courtesy: CAA
Towson's Alysha McCreary

CAA Volleyball Championship Set to Begin Friday

Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 11/15/2012
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RICHMOND, Va. (November 15, 2012) - The 2012 CAA Volleyball Championship is set to begin Friday on the campus of Towson University at the Towson Center Arena in Towson, Md. The six-team field will be competing for the league's automatic berth in the NCAA Volleyball Championship.

The championship will open on Friday as third-seeded Northeastern (20-6, 9-3 in CAA) faces sixth-seeded James Madison (12-15, 5-7 in CAA) at 4:00 p.m., followed by fourth-seeded Hofstra (18-13, 6-6 in CAA) against fifth-seeded William & Mary (13-13, 6-6 in CAA) at 7:00 p.m. In Saturday's semifinals, second-seeded Delaware (15-13, 9-3 in CAA) meets the Northeastern/JMU winner at 4:00 p.m., and top-seeded Towson (25-3, 12-0 in CAA) takes on the Hofstra/William & Mary winner at 7:00 p.m. The championship match will take place at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Towson enters the championship as the top seed for the first time since 2004 after finishing with a perfect 12-0 record in conference play. Towson, which is riding an 18-match winning streak, has been prolific on offense this season, leading the CAA in hitting percentage (.284), assists (1,355), and kills (1,452). The Tigers have also made their presence known nationally by ranking third in the NCAA in kills per game (14.82) and fifth in assists per game (13.83). Offensively, junior outside hitter Katy Buck leads the team with 339 kills (3.46 k/s) while Alysha McCreary anchors the Tiger defense with 94 blocks (1.03 b/s) this season. Senior setter Aubrey Kirven leads the CAA with 1,197 total assists while ranking second in the NCAA in assists per set (12.60). Towson will be looking to win its second CAA championship and first since 2004.

Delaware comes into the championship as winners of seven of its last eight matches and will be looking to win its third consecutive CAA championship. The Blue Hens boast one of the youngest lineups in the CAA (seven underclassmen) and bounced back from a 3-11 start to the season to finish 9-3 in CAA play and earn the second seed. Delaware is led by senior captains Alissa Alker and Chelsea Lawrence. Alker leads the team in kills (301, 3.01 k/s,) and digs (327, 3.27 d/s) while Lawrence leads the team in hitting percentage (.251) and blocks (93, 0.95 b/s). The Blue Hens have also received immediate contributions from freshman setter Mackenzie Olsen and freshman libero Ariel Shonk. Olsen leads the team with 1,009 total assists (10.09 a/s) while Shonk has recorded a league-leading 571 digs this season (5.71). Delaware will be seeking its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance.

Northeastern earned a spot in the championship for the sixth time in seven seasons and will be the third-seed after a 9-3 record in CAA play. The Huskies have held opponents to a league-low .169 hitting percentage due in large part to 82 total blocks (0.90 b/s) from senior middle hitter Nicole Bishop and 500 digs (5.49 d/s) from sophomore libero Natalia Skiba. Offensively the Huskies are led by Kelly Bacon, who ranks first on the team in 326 kills (3.58 k/s) while playing in all 91 sets this season. Northeastern will be seeking its first CAA championship and its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2001.

Hofstra will be making its first appearance in the CAA Championship since 2008 and has earned the fourth seed with a 6-6 record in conference play. The Pride has won their last four matches entering the tournament including a dramatic 3-1 victory over James Madison last Saturday. Sophomore outside hitter Kelsie Wills leads the CAA with 513 kills (4.42 k/s) while adding 248 digs (2.14 d/s), 64 blocks, and 33 service aces. Senior Nikki Kinnier ranks second on the team with 297 kills and also has 81 blocks, while sophomore Emily Burke has contributed 201 kills. Hofstra will be seeking its second CAA championship and first since 2006.

Fifth-seeded William & Mary will be looking to win its CAA-leading ninth volleyball championship, but its' first since 2001. The Tribe enters their 23rd CAA Volleyball Championship led by senior middle hitter Shaylin O'Connell and sophomore outside hitter Paulette Grand Pre. O'Connell leads the team with 88 blocks (0.94 b/s) while adding 187 kills (1.99 k/s). Grand Pre ranks first on the team in kills (218, 2.42 k/s) and service aces (25, 0.40 sa/s). The Tribe will also rely heavily on four-time CAA Rookie of the Week selection Dessi Koleva, who enters the championship with 199 kills (2.29 k/s), 213 digs (2.45 d/s), and 43 blocks (0.49 b/s).

James Madison earned the sixth and final seed in their CAA-leading 24th championship appearance. The Dukes are led by senior outside hitters Natalie Abel (232 kills, 3.05 k/s) and Danielle Erb (322, 3.25 k/s). JMU also boasts the youngest team in the CAA (11 underclassmen) and will look to freshman Meghan Niski, who finished the regular season with 230 kills (2.37 k/s) and 248 digs (2.56 d/s). The Dukes will be looking to win their first CAA championship since 2000.

Tickets to Friday and Saturday's matches are $10.00 for adults and $7.00 for children under the age of 17. These ticket prices cover admission to both matches in Friday and Saturday action. Admission to Sunday's championship match is $7.00 for adults and $5 for children under 17.  Students from a CAA institution will be admitted free with a valid college ID.

All matches of the tournament will be webstreamed for free on CAASports.com. For more information on the CAA Volleyball Championship, including live stat links, recaps and more, check out the Championship Central page.


2012 CAA VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

Towson Center Arena - Towson University - Towson, Md.

 

Friday, November 16 - Quarterfinals

#3 Northeastern vs. #6 James Madison - 4:00 p.m.

#4 Hofstra vs. #5 William & Mary - 7:00 p.m.

 

Saturday, November 17 - Semifinals

#2 Delaware vs. NU/JMU winner - 4:00 p.m.

#1 Towson vs. Hofstra/W&M winner - 7:00 p.m.

 

Sunday, November 18 - Championship

CAA Championship Game - 5:00 p.m.

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