NCAA Tournament Preview: Clark vs. Montclair State

NCAA Tournament Preview: Clark vs. Montclair State

2016 NCAA Women's Volleyball Division III Tournament Championship
Hoboken Regional | First, Second & Third Rounds
Friday-Sunday, November 11-13
Canavan Arena | Hoboken, N.J. 

Schedule Of Events, Friday, November 11
Hunter College (19-14) vs. Ramapo (24-5), 12:30 p.m.
Eastern (29-5) vs. Farmingdale State (19-6), 3:00 p.m.
Montclair State (26-8) vs. Clark University (23-8), 5:30 p.m.
Regis College (15-15) vs. Stevens Institute of Technology (31-5), 8:00 p.m. 

You Always Remember Your First
For the first time in school history, Clark is playing in the NCAA Tournament. After consecutive appearances in the NEWMAC title match, the Cougars received an at-large bid into the 64-team field. 

Welcome To The Club
Clark's appearance in the NCAA Tournament marks the University's first since the men's basketball team 2010. Volleyball becomes the seventh program in school history to make the NCAA's joining men's basketball (16), women's basketball (10), women's soccer (1), men's soccer (5), softball (1) and field hockey (1).  

There Is A Precedent
Those six teams are a combined 4-7 in their first ever appearances in the NCAA Tournament. In 1982, however, women's basketball made it all the way to the Final Four when they made their maiden voyage in NCAA play. 

Meet The Enemy
The Scarlet and White's first-round opponent, Montclair State out of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC), enters the tournament sporting an impressive 26-8 overall record. They earned their way into the tournament with their first conference tournament title since 2007, continuing the best single season in school history and will enter their NCAA Tournament match riding a five-match win streak.

Home Is Where The Heart Is
Amazingly, both teams went 13-0 at home this season. However, it was Clark (6-2), who had a better neutral site record of the two teams (7-5). 

Close Encounters
The Red Hawks should have a decided advantage in support in the stands. 18 of their 19 student-athletes hail from New Jersey and they are playing less than 20 minutes from their Montclair campus. 

Who Else Is Here?
Of the other six teams in the Hoboken Regional with Clark and Montclair State (Eastern, Farmingdale State, Hunter, Ramapo, Regis and host Stevens Institute of Technology) the Scarlet and White have only faced two in the last ten years. The Cougars dropped a 3-1 decision to Stevens to open the 2014 season at the Swarthmore Invitational and then bested Farmingdale State, 3-0, in a home tri-match in early October last season.

Too Much Pride?
The two squads only have one common opponent – Springfield. The Red Hawks faced the Pride during a late season tournament held by Stevens. Springfield held on for a 3-2 win despite 48 assists from Ashley Griffith. Clark, meanwhile, split their two matches with the Pride, dropping a 3-0 regular season showdown before topping Springfield 3-0 in the NEWMAC Tournament semifinals. 

Riding High
The Scarlet and White enter their first round matchup having won 12 of their last 13 matches, including an 11-1 month of October. 

After finishing 22-8 last season and missing out on the NCAA Tournament, the Cougars toughened their schedule and it paid off. They faced seven teams that made it to this year's postseason tournament and recorded victories over Endicott, Framingham State and Springfield. 

Meet Marina
Marina Ramos (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) picked up her second straight first-team all-conference selection earlier this week. The All-American leads all NEWMAC players in overall kills (437) and is sixth in total digs (439). She had 21 double-doubles in 31 matches played this season, including a trio of matches (Endicott, Amherst, MIT) where she finished with 20+ kills and 20+ digs. 

Second To None
Senior libero Mia Cattaneo (Santa Barbara, Calif.) earned her second straight nod to the NEWMAC All-Conference Second-Team on Wednesday. Cattaneo became the school's all-time leader in digs earlier this season and enters the NCAA Tournament with 1,769. She owns the top two-single season dig marks in school history, including the 525 she posted this season. 

Moving On
The winner of the matchup between the Cougars and Red Hawks will face the winner of the Regis-Stevens showdown which will follow at 8:00 p.m. The match between the two winners will take place on Saturday at 4:00 p.m.

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