Williams gets NCAA bids in women's soccer, volleyball

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The Williams College women's soccer and volleyball teams have earned spots in their respective NCAA Division III tournaments.

The women's soccer team will be at home for the first and second rounds, while the volleyball team will have to travel. Both teams are seeking their first NCAA Division III titles in school history.

The NESCAC champion soccer team will see Cole Field for at least one more weekend, as the Ephs and Stevens Institute of Technology were named hosts for their respective first and second-round contests.

"Peace, love, Cole, right?" Williams coach Michelyne Pinard said moments after the Ephs beat Bowdoin 2-0 on Sunday to claim the NESCAC title and earn home field in the NCAAs. "The team loves this field. We love playing here. We love playing in front of our fans. No doubt we play our very best here."

The Williams women will play MASCAC champion Westfield State in one game of Saturday's doubleheader, while St. Lawrence will play The College of New Jersey in the other game. The winners will face each other on Sunday.

The times and ticket prices for the doubleheader and for Sunday's game have not been set.

The last time Williams and Westfield met in the postseason was in 2011, when the Ephs scored a 2-1 win at Stevens.

Westfield (10-6-3) is coached by Todd Ditmar, whose father Art is a Pittsfield native and once pitched for the New York Yankees. Haley Korte of West Stockbridge and Monument Mountain is a member of the Owls.

Williams (16-1-1) comes into the game as the top-ranked team in New England and the No. 6 team in the nation.

The Ephs have the reigning NESCAC player in the week in goalkeeper Tressa Palcheck. The junior from Schaumburg, Ill., had seven saves in two NESCAC tournament games this weekend, shutting out Bowdoin 2-0 for her 10th clean sheet of the season.

In the other half of the Williamstown bracket, two at-large teams will play each other. St. Lawrence (13-4-2), losers to William Smith in the Liberty League championship game, will face The College of New Jersey (12-3-4). TCNJ lost to Rowan in the title game of the New Jersey Athletic Conference.

If Williams is to make a return trip to the Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Mo., for a second consecutive Final Four, it may have to get by two NESCAC rivals.

Bowdoin, losers to Williams in the NESCAC final, will play in a sectional at Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey. The Polar Bears will play Johns Hopkins in the first round while Stevens plays Lesley. One of Lesley's top players is former Pittsfield High School standout Sam Rapant. The senior at Lesley has two goals and two assists.

Amherst and William Smith are the other two hosts in the first round. William Smith is No. 3 in the nation and won the title in 2013. Amherst, like Bowdoin, is in by virtue of a Pool C at-large bid.

The Rounds of 16 and eight will be played Nov. 20-22, with the Final Four Dec. 4-5.

The Williams volleyball team heads for Clarkson University and the D-III volleyball regionals.

Clarkson (27-8), winners of its fourth consecutive Liberty League tournament championship, is ranked 17th in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association poll. The Golden Knights would see Williams in the regional final, if both advance.

Williams (18-10) will face Empire 8 champion Ithaca (30-4). The Ephs are in their third consecutive NCAA tourney, and 13th overall. Ithaca is making its first appearance in the Division III tournament since 2010.

Clarkson (27-8) will play Colby-Sawyer (12-24) in the other side of the Williams bracket. In the other half of the bracket, SUNY-Brockport (33-1) plays MASCAC champion Framingham State (25-8), while Springfield (29-3) plays Mount St. Vincent (17-13).

Bowdoin (23-4) beat Williams in the NESCAC final and earned the conference's automatic bid. Amherst (22-4) earned an at-large berth as Williams did. Both Bowdoin and Amherst will be in a regional hosted by 25th-ranked MIT.

The NCAA Division III tournament will close Nov. 19-21 at Van Noord Arena, on the campus of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.


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