BOSTON, Mass. - The number four seed Simmons College women's volleyball team will host fifth-seeded Lasell College in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship Tournament Quarterfinals on Tuesday, November 1 at 7:00 p.m. in Moore Gymnasium on the campus of Simmons.
The Sharks make their sixth straight GNAC Tournament apearance and eighth in the last nine seasons. Simmons has won the quarterfinal contest in four of the last five seasons, including three home contests. The Lasers have their highest seed in the tournament in school history and are making their ninth consecutive trip to the conference playoffs.
The Sharks finished the season with an overall record of 11-11 after winning seven of their last nine matches. Simmons finished league play with an 8-3 mark to capture the fourth seed in the GNAC Tournament. Lasell posted a 12-18 season mark, including 6-5 in conference play and have won five of its last seven matches and enters the match as the number five seed.
The Sharks defeated the Lasers, 3-0 (25-15, 25-22, 25-17), in their only meeting of the season on October 5. First year Morgan Weeg (Goodyear, Ariz.) led Simmons with a double-double of 14 kills and 16 digs.
The Sharks have been one of the strongest offensive teams in the league, averaging 11.16 kills and 2.34 aces per set to stand third among conference leaders, while owning a .170 hitting percentage as the fourth-most efficient team in the league. Lasell's attack has been formidable as well with 9.47 kills per set for the fifth-most in the GNAC, while averaging 16.34 digs per set for the fourth-highest rate in the league.
Simmons is led by first year outside hitter Morgan Weeg (Goodyear, Ariz.) the rookie has proven to be one of the best all-around players in the league, averaging 4.00 kills and 3.33 digs per set as the only player in the conference to average at least four kills and 3.3 digs per set. Her consistency has been key for the Sharks, posting double-digits in either kills or digs in all but three matches and registered 13 double-doubles on the year. She also recorded a respectable .211 hitting percentage, while serving up 27 aces and getting up for 20 blocks. Weeg is joined at the net by senior middle blocker Abby Hart (Westfield, Mass.), who has been one of the most efficient hitters in the league with a .281 hitting mark to place sixth among league leaders. She also averages 2.57 kills per set for the second-most on the squad and her 0.61 blocks per set place her ninth among GNAC players.
Junior right side hitter Amber Peterson (Las Vegas, Nev.) joins Weeg, Hart, senior outside hitter Kat Guillotte (New Bedford, Mass.) and Alex Itasaka (Branford, Mass.) as the only players to players to have seen action in all 79 sets for Simmons. Peterson has swung for 1.68 kills per set, while firing 31 aces for the second-most on the team, while Guillotte has provided support on both sides of the net with 1.18 kills and 2.82 digs per frame to go with 35 aces. Itasaka has enjoyed an outstanding season as the team's libero with 5.04 digs per set to rank third in the conference and has improved her service game with a team-high 37 aces to rank 11th in the conference.
Weeg isn't the only newcomer to make an impact for the Sharks. Kenna McCarthy (Shelter Island, N.Y.) has stepped in as the team's primary setter and averaged just under nine assists per set for the fourth-most in the league. First year Carly Wanner-Hyde (Newington, Conn.) has been a solid back-row player for Simmons, seeing action in 73 sets, while filling in at setter and patrollign the service line.
Lasell is led by sophomore middle hitter Olivia Addington (Orange, Calif.), who has spiked for 3.42 kills per set to rank sixth in the league, while maintaining a .164 hitting mark to go with 27 aces. She has also been steady on the defensive side with 3.02 digs per set. Junior rightside hitter Michele Canestro (Castleton, N.Y.) has been a dependable offensive threat as well for the Lasers with 2.42 kills per set and 34 aces. Junior outside hitter Meredith Eagan (North Andover, Mass.) along with sophomore middle blocker Lucinda Thomas (Windsor, Conn.) have provided Lasell with an imposing defensive presence at the net, averaging 0.39 and 0.54 blocks, respectively. Eagan has also generated good offense with 1.70 kills per set. Junior setter Taylor Tiezzi (Meriden, Conn.) has been one of the better setters in the conference with 8.20 assists per set to rank fifth in the conference, while firing 33 aces, picking up 2.76 digs and finding the floor for 37 kills. Junior libero Caitlyn Garcia (Moreno Valley, Calif.) has been a big reason for the Lasers' defensive prowess with 5.31 digs per set to stand second in the league. She has provided offensive from the service line as well with a team-high 39 aces.