Nov. 6, 2007
The one common goal for this year's Neumann College Volleyball team was to win the PAC Conference Championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. Saturday night the Knights did just that. Neumann put the finishing touches on a successful season when they defeated 10-time defending PAC Champion, Eastern University, 3-1, in the PAC Conference Final. The Knights will now advance to the first round of the NCAA Tournament, where they will take on third seeded Elizabethtown College at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 8. The contest will take place at Haverford College in Haverford, Pa.
Other first-round games will feature Juniata taking on Philadelphia Biblical University at 1:00 pm, Salisbury taking on Christopher Newport at 3:30 pm and DeSales taking on Haveford College at 8:30 pm.
Neumann enters the program's first NCAA Regional match with an overall record of 23-10, while going 10-1 in the PAC Conference. After receiving the second seed in the PAC Championship Tournament and a first round bye, The Knights defeated Cabrini College in the semi-finals of the PAC Championship Tournament (3-0) and were hosted by first-seed Eastern University in the finals.
The Knights have enjoyed a great season, and they look to continue their pursuit to an NCAA Championship by remembering what has served them well throughout the season -- their team chemistry. Team captains, Alyssa Brigg, (Rosemont, Pa./Archbishop Carroll) Rachael Sokolovich, (Media, Pa./Ridley) and Meghan Wilson (West Chester, Pa./Bishop Shanahan) will play big roles as they help the team to focus on the task at hand, while guiding the team to its first ever NCAA Tournament appearance.
The team will also have to rely heavily on their freshmen. In particular, the Knights will be relying on Ashley Mathis (Norristown, Pa. /Norristown) who finished 8th in the conference in kills, averaging 3.2 a game and freshman defensive specialist and 2007 PAC Championship M.V.P., Cathleen Hazewski (Middletown, De. /Del Castle), who stepped up after an injury sidelined junior starter Meghan Wilson in the PAC championship match . Junior Julia Tarloski, (Malvern, Pa. /Bishop Shanahan) will play a key role in Neumann's ability to advance as well. She finished 4th in the PAC in hitting percentage, scoring .352% of the time. Last but not least, the Knights' Kristen Verone (Folsom, Pa. /Cardinal O'Hara) will be the woman in charge of setting her teammates up to score. Verone ranked 3rd in conference assists, averaging over ten per game. It is apparent that this Neumann team is equipped with all the tools to bring home the championship; it will just be a matter of execution on the court.
In Thursday night's match up against Elizabethtown, the Knights must focus on everything they have done to get them this far. If they stay focused, play as a team, and work hard and smart, there is no telling how far this run will go.
Neumann College Athletics Women's Volleyball