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UML in NCAA Volleyball tourney

By Used with permission from the Lowell Sun Online.

LOWELL The UMass Lowell volleyball team is one of six teams in the Northeast Region to receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament, to be played Thursday through Saturday at the University of New Haven.

The River Hawks (25-10) received the No. 6 seed and will play No. 3 Bryant (27-10) on Thursday.

New Haven (32-5), seededNo. 1, and No. 2 Bentley (33-6) each received a bye in the first round. No. 4 Dowling College (24-11) will meet No. 5 New York Institute of Technology (24-13) in round one.

Bentley meets the UML-Bryant winner on Friday while New Haven will battle the Dowling-New York Tech winner. The regional final is slated for Saturday.

The NCAA Tournament bid is the second in three years for the River Hawks, who advanced in 2000 but were ushered out in the first round by New Haven (3-0).

The River Hawks won 19 of their last 22 matches, including five of seven against teams ranked in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Northeast Region Poll. UML advanced to the Northeast-10 Conference Tournament championship match Saturday night but fell to Bentley, 3-2.

UML stunned Bryant 3-0 in the NE-10 Tournament semifinal - a win which was critical in UML's case for an NCAA Tournament bid.

"We made the NCAA Tournament because of how we played in the second half of the season," said coach Karen McNulty, in her eighth season. "We had big wins over Queens (NY) College and Bryant. Our finish in the Conference championship really helped us."