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PREVIEW: Saints Ready For Cavs In Atlantic East Title Match Saturday Afternoon

PREVIEW: Saints Ready For Cavs In Atlantic East Title Match Saturday Afternoon

RADNOR, Pa. – The second-seeded Marymount University women's volleyball team will look for redemption on Saturday, November 3 in Radnor, Pennsylvania, traveling to top-seeded Cabrini University for the Atlantic East Conference Women's Volleyball Championship. Start time is set for 5 p.m. 

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How We Got Here

As the No. 2 seed in the tournament after going 5-1 in the regular season, the Saints had a first-round bye and hosted a semifinal match on Thursday night in the Converse Family Fieldhouse against third-seeded Neumann University. Needing just two wins to seal up the program's first conference championship, Marymount came out swinging against the Knights, cruising to a 3-1 (25-14, 25-12, 25-12) victory to punch its ticket to the first-ever Atlantic East title match. 

It was an all-around effort by the Saints, including a match-high 14 kills on a .545 hitting percentage from sophomore Mykael Johnson while sophomore Jasmine Roy dove out for a match-high 12 digs. Sophomore Maggie Viniard and senior Caroline Hanson added double-doubles for the squad, as Viniard posted a match-high 32 assists to go with 10 digs and Hanson registered 10 kills and 11 digs. 

How They Got Here

After registering the only untouched record in the regular season at 6-0, the Cavaliers earned the top seed in the tournament and a first-round bye. Hosting a semifinal match on Thursday night against fifth-seeded Marywood University, the Pacers made the first game interesting, stealing an early 1-0 lead with a 27-25 victory. However, Cabrini rallied back with force to take the net three sets to seal up the 3-1 (25-27, 25-13, 25-21, 25-14) decision and head to the title match. 

Laying down 50 kills as a team, the Cavs were led by Steph Judkins with a match-high 17 digs on a .231 hitting percentage and a match-high 17 digs. Katrina Shelly also had a double-digit attack night with 12 kills, while Amelia Ballard and Emily Shannon split time at the setter position with 27 and 14 assists, respectively. 

Last Time We Met

The two squads met on Cabrini's home court back on October 20 in the first match of a tri-match with Keystone College. A back-and-forth battle had each take the first two sets, as the Cavs won a close 25-23 first set and the Saints responded with a throttling 25-16 second set. Although the third and fourth games were close throughout, Cabrini earned both wins with set finals of 25-21 and 25-22, in that order, to take the match, 3-1. 

Again, the Saints had double-double efforts by Viniard (40 assists, 15 digs) and Hanson (15 kills, 13 digs), and Johnson and sophomore Myah Cordrey chipped in 13 and 12 kills, respectively. Junior Theresa Buscemi, on the defensive side, laid out for a team-high 16 digs. 

Cabrini was led by a triple-double effort by Emily Shannon with 13 kills, 16 assists and 11 digs. It was her first triple-double of her career. Judkins registered a match-high 17 kills and added 10 digs for a double-double. 

Verge Of Greatness

The Saints are having a program-best season, and could solidify another program first with a title in Saturday's match. Marymount will finish the season with the best winning percentage in program history, along with the least losses in a single season. If the Saints also earn a berth into the NCAA tournament, that would also be a program first. 

What's Next?

Pending a victory on Saturday, the Saints would await their hopeful extension of the season in the NCAA tournament on Monday for the selection show at 12:30 p.m. Due to the Atlantic East being brand new, automatic qualifiers with the championship will come following the first two seasons. The Saints will hope for a spot in the national tournament as a Pool B bid.

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