WESTON, Mass. - For the third time in as many seasons, the Regis (Mass.) women's volleyball team is the champion of the New England Collegiate Conference. The Pride secured its spot in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday afternoon by sweeping the visiting Daniel Webster Eagles (25-15, 25-19, 25-17) in front of a packed house at Higgins Court on the campus of Regis.
With the win, the Pride improves to 15-15 on the season, while Daniel Webster's season concludes with a record of 22-8.
A quick kill by Pride freshman Lauren Butt (Topsfield, Mass.) on the first point of the game set the tone of the remainder of the opening set. The Pride got jumped out to a quick 6-1 lead and never looked back again. Regis led by as many as 12 points in the first set before a service error by Daniel Webster's Brooke Marcotte (Nashua, N.H.) eventually secured the 25-15 win for the Pride.
The second set of Sunday afternoon's match began nothing like first, as the second go-around saw the Eagles jump out to a 6-2 lead early. The Pride gradually started the uphill climb, tying the set at 13, before a Madeline Roulier (Pittsfield, Mass.) kill and a pair of service aces by Courtney Sheyenne-Warrington (Canton, Texas) stretched Daniel Webster's lead back to three. The Pride trailed by a score of 19-15 and the match appeared to be headed towards a tie score, until junior co-captain Nicole Connolly (San Mateo, Calif.) took to the service line. The Pride rattled off 10 points in a row to come back and win the second set by a score of 25-19 and reignite a previously quieted Higgins Court crowd.
The deciding set started off relatively even with the teams trading blows back and forth. With her team on top 11-10 midway through the set, Pride junior setter Crystina Lathrop (Houston, Texas) racked up three service aces in a row to put Regis up by four. Regis ran with the momentum, and minutes later clinched the match on an assisted block by rookies Katryna Veasey (Quincy, Mass.) and Kayla Nystedt(Onamia, Minn.).
Freshman right side Stephanie Carter (Jupiter, Fla.) led all players with nine kills on the afternoon in her team's winning effort. Junior outside hitter Sydney Trusty (Durham, Conn.) finished the match with eight, while Veasey chipped in seven to pace the Pride offensively. As a team, Regis had a hitting percentage of .346, its highest mark of the season. For the Eagles, Roulier and Hannah Koehler (Bedford, N.H.) each led the team with seven kills.
After the match, the following players were named to the 2016 NECC All-Tournament Team:
Julia Leggett (Longview, Wash.) - Newbury
Lauren Vallee (Bristol, Conn.) - Bay Path
Nicole Beard (Shelton, Conn.) - Daniel Webster
Hannah Koehler - Daniel Webster
Nicole Connolly - Regis
Shay Faber (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) - Regis
Stephanie Carter - Regis - Tournament Most Valuable Player
The Pride will find out their opponent in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Monday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. The selection show can be seen live on NCAA.com.