Volleyball qualifies for NCAA tourney for first time since 2019


Courtesy / Saint Anselm Athletics

Volleyball celebrates together after their season opening win over Valdosta State

Jordan Tavares, Crier Staff

The Saint Anselm Volleyball team has proved throughout their entire season that it takes everyone in order for the team to find success and win big matches. The Hawks have just wrapped their season, finishing at a 20-9 overall record and a 9-3 conference record, which places them 5th in the NE10. 

Throughout this season, the Hawks have proven that they can compete and contend with the best teams not just in the NE10, but in the country. Their season kicked off with a 3-0 win over Valdosta State. Following Valdosta state, the Hawks competed in the 2 day Saint Anselm/SNHU Tournament. In the tournament, the Hawks went an impressive 4-0, beating the likes of Saint Michael’s, D’Youville, Roberts Wesleyan, and Kutztown (winning each match 3-0). 

The Hawks then proceeded to go out to Owensboro Kentucky to compete in the Kentucky Wesleyan Invitational. During the tournament, the Hawks finished with a 2-2 record, starting with 2 wins against Kentucky State and Shorter (Ga) (3-0 and 3-2 respectively). Their two losses during the Invitational came to Harding and to number 9 ranked Nebraska-Kearney with both resulting in a 3-0 loss. While the team suffered their first two losses of the season, they were able to gain great experience by competing against tough, high end competition. 

On September 9th, the Hawks traveled to Springfield MA to compete in the IVHOF DII East Region Clash. During this clash, the Hawks went 1-3 in their 4 matches, with losses to the likes of Daemon University, Bentley, and American international. The Hawks were in a dry spell and needed a win to recapture the early season momentum they had going. Luckily, the Hawks would get rolling again and win 10 of their next 11 games, including a come from behind 3-2 win over Saint Rose. 

Outside Hitter Lauren Casey led the way with 22 kills, while Middle Blocker Ava Kidd led the way defensively with 7 blocks. The victory over Saint Rose was hard fought and showcased the Hawks’ resiliency throughout. During this massive winning streak, the Hawks also defeated American International, the best team in the conference. The win was huge for the Hawks, as they were able to hand American International their only conference loss all season. 

The Hawks continued to grind through the regular season finishing 5th in the standings. Throughout the season, the Hawks have had a balanced attack and defense, proving they can thrive offensively and defensively. This season the Hawks are 4th in the NE10 in kills and 5th in assists. 

Defensively, the Hawks are 5th in total blocks and 4th in Digs. In terms of individual stats, the Hawks have some of the best players in the NE10, including Setter Michelle Henwood who is 4th in the NE10 in total assists and 4th in assists per set with 8.92. Outside Hitter Lauren Casey has been a force on the court, putting up 306 kills which is the 6th best in the conference along with 373.5 points which is 5th best in the NE10. 

The Saint Anselm Volleyball team has shown throughout the season that they’re the toughest team in the NE10. In terms of championships, the Hawks qualified for the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2019. The Hawks were ranked 7th in the East Division and in their first round matchup; the Hawks will be playing 2nd ranked Daemen College which is sure to be an excellent matchup. 

From come from behind wins to dominant performances, the Hawks have proven that they can hang with the big teams in the NE10 and compete and dominate with ease. They should be seen as a dark horse team no one in the NCAA wants to face.

Senior Colleen Chen described just how proud she is of this team and the intense mentality everyone has entering their NCAA tournament matchup.

“Our mentality going into this tournament is that of laser focus. We are hitting the ground already, visualizing our strategies, and ready to beat the competition. I am tremendously proud of this team for letting our talent speak for itself by tackling every challenge put in front of us. It’s now or never for the seniors on our team, including me, and I really believe we have a chance to take the whole regional championship.”