RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Felician College women's volleyball program has qualified for the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament for the first time since 2007. To reach its first league semifinal, the Golden Falcons must get past CACC South Division regular-season co-champion Wilmington (Del.) University.
Guided by fourth-year head coach Amber Butler of Secaucus, Felician (6-18, 6-13 CACC) matched the school record for victories and captured the North Division's No. 4 seed via tiebreaker. On Tuesday, the Golden Falcons will travel to Newark, Del., to take on South No. 1 Wilmington in first-round playoff action at the WU Athletics Complex. First service is slated for 7 p.m.
The complete tournament bracket can be viewed at http://caccathletics.org/sports/wvball/2013-14/releases/20131110-cacc-vb-pairings-set.
Felician, a 10th-year program, is seeking its first CACC championship. The Golden Falcons are led on offense by sophomore outside hitter and two-time CACC Player of the Week Olivia Emerson (Sparks, Nev./Edward C. Reed). The owner of a team-high .209 attack percentage, Emerson ranks second in the league and 34th nationally in NCAA Division II with 3.72 kills per set.
Felician sophomore middle blocker Kayla Gallagher (Bloomingburg, N.Y./Pine Bush) has been resurgent in the season's second half, currently hitting .198 and averaging 2.39 kills and 0.55 blocks. Sophomore setters Susie McKeever (North Fort Myers, Fla./North Fort Myers) and Sarah Shebel (Chandler, Ariz./Perry) have combined for 806 assists and 72 service aces, and sophomore libero Patrycja Giemza (Dabrowa Gornicza, Poland) paces the defense with 4.44 digs per set. The Golden Falcons are 2-10 on the road.
Wilmington (22-9, 17-2) will be looking for its second conference crown and first since 2004. The Wildcats pose a difficult two-way challenge, leading the league in both hitting percentage (.195) and blocking (2.18 per set). Sophomore outside Kaitlyn DiGiacomo (Glen Burnie, Md./Old Mill) plays all-around to the tune of 2.47 kills and 3.16 digs per set. Six-foot-three senior middle Katie Shorter (Pasadena, Md./Broadneck) is the CACC's top blocker (1.24/set). WU is 12-2 at home.
Wilmington won the 2013 regular-season meeting between the schools, 3-0 (25-10, 25-21, 25-9), on September 28 in Newark. The teams have never met in postseason play. The Wildcats lead the all-time series with Felician, 11-1.
Directions to the WU Athletics Complex are available at http://www.wilmu.edu/athletics/facilities/sportscomplex.aspx. Ticket prices for Tuesday's match are $6 for adults and $3 for children, students (with ID) and senior citizens. Children age three years and under will be admitted free. Wilmington will also offer a Live Stats feed at http://www.wilmu.edu/athletics/livestats/volleyball/xlive.htm, and a live video stream at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/wilmuathletics.
Georgian Court University in Lakewood, N.J., will host the semifinals and finals of the CACC Tournament. Tuesday night's winner will take on the Nyack College-Georgian Court first-round winner on Friday at the GCU Wellness Center at either 1 or 3:30 p.m.
The 2013 CACC Championship Match is slated for Saturday, November 16, at 1 p.m. in Lakewood. The CACC champion will receive an automatic qualifier into the NCAA Division II East Regional.