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Ravens headed to NCAA tournament

The Franklin Pierce University volleyball team has been named as the seventh seed of the NCAA Championship East Regional, as announced Monday night by the NCAA. It marks the second straight NCAA Championship selection for the team, as well as the second in program history.

The Ravens, a Northeast-10 Conference quarterfinalist, earned an at-large bid in the eight-team tournament, which will run Dec. 5 through Dec. 7 and be hosted by top seed Bridgeport at Harvey Hubbell Gymnasium in Bridgeport, Conn. Franklin Pierce will open play at 2:30 p.m. today against second-seeded LIU Post.

Each of the eight teams will play their first matches today. In addition to the Franklin Pierce (14-8) match against LIU Post (22-9), top-seeded Bridgeport (21-2) will face eighth-seeded Georgian Court (20-12), third-seeded New York Tech (26-6) will play sixth-seeded Dowling (19-13) and fourth-seeded New Haven (26-4) will take on fifth-seeded Adelphi (19-12).

From there, semifinal matches will be played on Friday evening, with the East Regional title match slated for Saturday. Bridgeport, New Haven and Georgian Court all received automatic bids to the tournament as champions of the East Coast Conference, Northeast-10 Conference and Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference, respectively. New Haven is the defending East Regional champion, having defeated Bridgeport in last season’s regional title match, while Bridgeport, Dowling and New Haven have combined to win the last eight regional titles. Excepting Georgian Court, which returns to the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2009, every team was also present at last year’s East Regional.

The winner of the East Regional will advance to the national quarterfinals, scheduled for Dec. 12, hosted by Upper Iowa in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Upper Iowa will also host the national semifinals on Dec. 13 and the national championship match on Dec. 14. Seven other regional tournaments will be conducted this week, with each sending its champion to Cedar Rapids as well.

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