NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - The Marymount University women's volleyball team is set to square off in the first round of the NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball tournament on Friday, November 14, taking on Randolph-Macon College at Christopher Newport University. Start time is set for 5:30 p.m.
Follow The Match
How We Got Here
The Saints (24-10) earned a Pool B bid into the big dance for the second-straight season after going a perfect 6-0 in the Atlantic East Conference and winning its second-consecutive league title, the second in program history. Marymount rolled the league tournament as the top seed, defeating Marywood University in four sets and tackling second-seeded Neumann University in the title match this past Saturday, 3-0. Junior Maggie Viniard was deemed the tournament's Most Valuable Player after putting up 83 assists in just two matches, to go along with two service aces and 16 digs.
How They Got Here
The Yellow Jackets (25-8) earned a Pool C at-large bid into the tournament after advancing to the ODAC championship match as the top seed in the tournament before falling to second-seeded Virginia Wesleyan University, 3-1. They have gone 1-2 against nationally-ranked opponents this season, defeating then-No. 16 Juniata College in five sets. As a team, the Yellow Jackets rank 27th in the country in kills with 1,507 and 18th in total blocks with 238. They have five players all with more than 200 kills this season, led by freshman outside hitter Grace Parker with 307.
Last Time We Met
The two squads met in week two of the season in the Randolph-Macon Invitational on Friday, September 6. The Saints came out battling after a tough first weekend of play against three nationally-ranked opponents, dropping a close first set in extra points, 29-27, and evening it up with a 25-22 second-set victory. In the third set, the Saints had a 23-22 lead late, but RMC responded with three-straight points to take the two-game lead and rolled through the fourth to claim the 3-1 victory.
Junior Mykael Johnson landed 18 kills in the match and 18 digs, both of which were team highs, to eventual land a spot on the All-Tournament team. Freshman Elissa Munsterman and junior Myah Cordrey added 12 and 11 kills, in that order, while Viniard dished out a match-high 43 assists.
The two squads have been playing each other since 1995, with the Yellow Jackets holding the advantage in the head-to-heads, 15-3. However, the Saints snapped a six-match skid to RMC last season at home, sweeping the Jackets, 3-0 on MU's home court. In neutral site matchups, Macon has a 2-1 edge with the last time the two teams meeting in a neutral location was in 2004 at Susquehanna Unviersity, falling in five sets.
The Saints are making their second-straight appearance in the NCAA tournament, the second time in program history as well. Last year, MU earned the Pool B bid after winning the Atlantic East championship and traveled to Juniata College for a first-round matchup against former Capital Athletic Conference rival University of Mary Washington, slipping 3-0.
This will be the seventh appearance for the Yellow Jackets in the last 11 seasons, with two coming from an automatic bid after winning the ODAC championship. Their last appearance was in 2017 as an at-large bid, falling in the first round to Swarthmore in straight sets at Stevenson University.
This week, several postseason accolades were announced that had a handful of Saints earning recognition. In the Atlantic East, Johnson was named Player of the Year, Viniard was named Specialty Player of the Year, Munsterman earned Rookie of the Year, and the coaching staff led by Head Coach Beth Ann Wilson was tabbed Coaching Staff of the Year. Additionally, Johnson and Viniard were named to First-Team All-Conference, while Cordrey and senior Theresa Buscemi were named to Second Team.
On Thursday, the AVCA announced its All-Region selections, as Johnson was named to All-East Region and Viniard earned a spot on Honorable Mention.
Pending a victory over the Yellow Jackets, the Saints would advance to Saturday's second round against the winner of host Christopher Newport and Stevenson. The match would start at 5 p.m.