Playoff Berth, Regular Season Title at Stake In Finale
RIVERDALE, N.Y. – Everything is on the line for the Manhattan College volleyball team in its regular season finale. The Jaspers (20-11, 13-4 MAAC) will clinch at least a share of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) regular season title with a victory at Iona (15-13, 12-5 MAAC) on Saturday night at 7 p.m. Manhattan will secure a place in the MAAC Tournament even with a loss by simply taking a set off the Gaels.
Manhattan knocked off Iona in five sets at Draddy Gymnasium on Oct. 12, but hasn’t beaten the Gaels in New Rochelle since 2006. The Jaspers are coming off a 3-1 victory at Quinnipiac on Sunday afternoon. Senior Ellie Wiekamp (Laguna Niguel, Calif.) leads the team with 2.77 kills per set, while sophomore Sydney Volovski (Oswego, Ill.) tallies 2.63 kills per set and junior Malia McGuinness (Kailua, Hawaii) adds 2.58 kills per set. Freshman Allie Yamashiro (Kapolei, Hawaii) earned MAAC Libero of the Week honors for the fifth time on Tuesday. She registers a team-best 4.50 digs per set. Sophomore Teodora Peric (Chicago, Ill.), meanwhile, hands out 8.37 assists per set.
Iona prevented Manhattan from locking up a playoff spot with a five-set win at Fairfield on Sunday. Sophomore Natalie Ziskin was named MAAC Player of the Week for her performance against the Stags, and she currently ranks second in the MAAC in assists, averaging 10.58 per set. Junior Catrina Warren leads the league with 3.54 kills per set, and senior Alicja Pawelec tallies 2.92 kills per set. Junior Caris Myles paces the Gaels with 3.35 digs per set.
Entering the final weekend of the regular season, there are five teams in contention for the four berths in the MAAC Tournament. Fairfield (15-12, 12-4 MAAC) and Marist (18-8, 12-4 MAAC) are tied for second place, and Siena (12-14, 11-5 MAAC) is a half-game behind fourth-place Iona. The Stags, Red Foxes and Saints will all play twice this weekend, while the Jaspers and Gaels only face each other. There are multiple tiebreaking scenarios involving the five teams, almost all of which would put Manhattan in the field, and the Jaspers can clinch a spot with a win or one loss by any of the others.
The only way the Jaspers can miss out on the MAAC Tournament is if they lose 3-0 and end up in a three-way tie with Iona and Siena. Since all three teams would be 2-2 against the other two, sets won in those matches would be used as the tiebreaker. Iona would then clinch the No. 3 seed, having won 10 sets in the four matches, while a set win on Saturday would be Manhattan’s seventh in the mini-conference, surpassing Siena’s total of six. However, should Manhattan get swept, the next tiebreaker is total points won in matches between the remaining tied teams, which would put the Saints in and knock the Jaspers out.