Wooster, Denison Set for First-Round NCAC Tournament Contest

McKenzie Reese
McKenzie Reese

Wittenberg Championship Website

Outlook: The College of Wooster (14-11, 2-6 North Coast Athletic Conference) is the seventh-seed for the single-elimination 2018 NCAC Tournament and will take on sixth-seeded Denison University (11-14, 3-5 NCAC) in the opening round at Wittenberg University's Pam Evans Smith Arena at 3 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2. The winner of the first-round match advances to play third-seeded Hiram College (21-4, 6-2 NCAC) at 7 p.m. on Friday.

Ticket Information: Tickets for adults are $7 per day, while youth and students are admitted for $3 per day. NCAC students with a valid student ID are admitted free of charge.

Tournament Format: Starting last year, the NCAC Tournament switched to a single-elimination format. The top two seeds (Wittenberg and DePauw University) have a bye until Saturday's semifinal matches, set to take place at 11 a.m., with the two winners meeting for the tournament crown at 5 p.m. The third and fourth seeds (Hiram and Kenyon College) have a bye for the first round of the tournament. Previously, quarterfinal losers met in consolation semifinals and then played in the appropriate fifth- or seventh-place matches. The NCAC's senior ceremony and the announcement of the all-conference team will take place at the conclusion of Friday's 3 p.m. matches.

Last Meeting – Denison: Wooster capped conference action against Denison on Oct. 24. The Big Red swept the Scots 25-13, 25-17, 25-13. Senior Ashley Plassard (Painesville, Ohio/Riverside) led the Scots with eight kills, and she was in on all four of Wooster's blocks in the match. Sophomore Meghan Botsch (Dunwoody, Ga./Pace Academy) finished two digs shy of a double-double.

Last Meeting – Hiram: Wooster recorded eight of its 13 blocks between sets two and three, but the Scots couldn't close out Hiram during a 25-11, 22-25, 25-27, 25-18, 15-10 setback on Oct. 13. Senior Marija Cyvas (Downers Grove, Ill./Benet Academy) led the Scots with 12 kills, while the middle hitter teamed up with Plassard for a combined 13 blocks. Junior Anna Medema (Mariposa, Calif./Mariposa County) logged a career-high 10 kills, and went on to up that by four against Kenyon College on Oct. 18.

Block Party: Plassard's 1.05 blocks per set ranks second in the NCAC, and the senior middle entered the program's top-10 list for career swats during the Case Western Reserve University match on Saturday. Plassard flourished in her first season as a regular starter last year with 87 blocks, and she's one block shy of 100 this season. As a team, Wooster is second in the NCAC with 1.96 blocks per set.

400 Times 4: Senior Gabrielle Basinski (Amherst, Ohio/Amherst Steele) surpassed 400 digs for the fourth straight year against Denison on Oct. 24. Basinski, who ranks fourth all-time at the College with 1,777 digs, tallied a career-best 467 as a first-year, and followed that up with 457, 416, and 437, respectively. On Oct. 10, Basinski logged a career-high 35 digs during Wooster's 3-1 win over Allegheny College, and that total marks the fourth-most in a four-set match during the current score era, and was the most since Rachel Sell's 38 against Allegheny in 2014. Coincidentally, Basinski's previous career-high in digs, 34, came against Allegheny in 2015.

Tip-Toeing the Line: Senior Mayia Karagianni (Nicosia, Cyprus/The English School of Nicosia) saved the day during Wooster's 3-2 win over Oberlin College on Oct. 2. The Yeowomen's Lexi Mitchell appeared to be on the verge of logging her match-high seventh service ace after Wooster couldn't get a good handle on the reception. Karagianni hustled to the centerline outside the net and saved the volleyball backwards. After Oberlin wasn't able to capitalize on the free ball, Karagianni tapped down the Yeowomen's overpass to tie the fifth set at 15. For the match, Karagianni logged a career-high 10 kills, and since upped her career-best to 14 against Allegheny.

Down, But Not Out: Wooster found itself in a two-set hole against Grove City College on Sept. 1, but rallied back to win the match 23-25, 22-25, 25-20, 25-12, 15-7. The win marked Wooster's first during a match in which it trailed 2-0 since Sept. 1, 2012, exactly six years to the day. In that match, Wooster stormed back to top Thiel College 21-25, 12-25, 25-18, 25-19, 15-13. Ironically, Wooster's other win at the University of Mount Union Invitational this year was against Thiel, but a sweep was in order as Wooster won 25-16, 25-23, 26-24.

Just What the Doctor Ordered: Timken Gymnasium, home to Wooster's men's basketball, women's basketball, and volleyball programs underwent a major renovation this summer, and the volleyball team's debut in the newly-renovated facility went according to plan, as the Scots swept aside Bethany College (W.Va.) 25-20, 25-23, 25-21 on Sept. 14. Plassard led the way at the net with a team-high 10 kills, and hit .316 during the match. Defensively, Wooster held Bethany to a .042 attack percentage, including two frames at .025 or lower. Three Scots reached double-digits in digs, including Basinski and senior McKenzie Reese (Canfield, Ohio/Cardinal Mooney), who had 15 each.