Hartford, Conn., Nov. 1, 2012 – The Trinity College volleyball team, which posted a regular-season record of 12-10 and finished in seventh place in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) at 5-5, has qualified for the NESCAC Championship Tournament for the fourth year in a row and for the sixth time in the last eight seasons. The Bantams, which reached the NESCAC Semifinals for the first time since 2005 last fall, will play the No. 2-seeded Middlebury College Panthers (19-6, 8-2) in the quarterfinal round of the league tourney on Friday, November 2 at 5 p.m. at top-seeded Connecticut College. Trinity, coached by Jen Bowman (9th season), lost to Middlebury during the regular season, 3-0, on October 13 in Hartford. The NESCAC Quarterfinal, Semifinal, and Final round games will all take place at Connecticut College from Nov. 2-4.
The winner of Trinity's quarterfinal match will play the winner of the 8 p.m. match on Friday between Bowdoin (25-3, 8-2) and No. 6-seeded Tufts (13-12, 6-4). The other 5 p.m. match features No. 8-seeded Colby (12-12, 2-8) at top-seeded Connecticut College (22-2, 8-2) and No. 5-seeded Williams (14-11, 7-3) faces No. 4-seeded Amherst (14-8, 7-3) in the other 8 p.m. match. Seven NESCAC teams are ranked among the top 12 in the New England Women's Volleyball Association Poll, as Connecticut College is No. 1, Bowdoin is No. 2, Middlebury is No. 5, Williams is No. 8, Amherst is No. 9, Tufts is No. 10, and Trinity is No. 12. The winner of the NESCAC Championship Tournament will determine the league's automatic qualifier for the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.
Trinity opened the season with a 5-0 start but suffered two four-match losing streaks during the year the middle of the schedule before closing strong with road wins against Bates (3-0) and Colby (3-1) last weekend. Junior co-captain OH Hannah Brickley (Melrose, Mass.) had 17 kills and only two attack errors on 30 attempts, struck from all over the floor, to finish with a sparkling .500 attack percentage to go with a match-high 16 digs at Bates, while senior co-captain OH Danielle Isaman (Warrenton, Va.) added 11 kills against three errors (.348) with 10 digs and two blocks. First-year MH Kate Giddens (Ranchos Palos Verdes, Calif.) contributed seven kills and four aces, while junior S Amy Hackett (Wallingford, Conn.) and first-year S Gina Buzzelli (Cheshire, Conn.) shared the team lead with 16 assists apiece. Isaman was one of three Bantams with at least 14 kills and added a match-high 16 digs at Colby, while Brickley had a match-high 16 kills, nine digs, and two blocks. Giddens added 15 kills and a pair of blocks, Hackett had 27 assists and seven digs, and Buzzelli contributed 19 assists and 10 digs. Brickley was selected as the NESCAC Player of the Week for her outstanding performance in the two matches.
Brickley ranks sixth, while Giddens and Isaman are tied for ninth in the NESCAC in kills with 2.92 per set (234) for Brickley and and 2.83 per set (226) for Giddens and Isaman. Hackett (419 assists) and Buzzelli (292 assists) have teamed up in the setter spot to help the Bantams ranks No. 4 among NESCAC schools in total assists, as the pair are averaging 8.89 assists per set between them. Brickley also leads the Bantams in attacks with 719 and digs with 3.26 per set (261), while Giddens boasts the top Trinity hitting percentage at .255 (10th in NESCAC) followed by Isaman at .223, Brickley at .214, and first-year OH Hunter Drews (Clifton Park, N.Y.) at .211. Hackett also adds a team-high 28 aces, and rookie MH Katie Stueber (Darie, Conn.) leads the Bantam front line with 49 blocks.