PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The University of Tampa Spartans is set to play the American International College Yellow Jackets in the NCAA Quarterfinals, tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Entering the quarterfinals, the Spartans earned the No. 1 overall seed, while AIC was given the No. 8 seed.
Match: University of Tampa (30-4, 17-3 SSC) vs. American International College (24-11, 11-3 NE10)
Date/Time: Thursday, November 29 at 5 p.m.
Location: A.J. Palumbo Center | Pittsburgh, Pa.
Last Time Out: The Spartans defeated the No. 16 Palm Beach Atlantic Sailfish in four sets in the NCAA South Regional Championship. In the matchup, the sophomore, outside hitting duo of Katie McKiel and Sorrel Houghton led Tampa's offense with 21 and 15 kills respectively. McKiel ended the match hitting .255 while Houghton's kill percentage was .342. Also on offense middle-blocker, Alexandra Misca was highly effective. The senior out of Romania had 10 kills and hit a whopping .444. Sammy Mueller dished out these kills, ending the championship match with 61 total assists, in addition to logging 16 digs for UT. The Apopka, Florida native, Nicole Dominguez, had a team-high of 22 digs for the Spartans.
About the Spartans: The Spartans' 30-4 overall record is the best since the 2014 season. The 2014 team concluded the season as national champions. This season, the Spartans lead the Sunshine State Conference in hitting percentage (.267), assists (13.49 per set), and kills (14.30 per set). Middle blockers Taylor Fosler and Alexandra Misca finished first and fifth in the conference in hitting percentage, hitting .384 and .357 respectively. The outside pin hitting duo of Houghton and McKiel have 482 and 452 kills and were third and sixth respectively in kills per set. Setter Sammy Mueller finished fourth in the conference in assists. She averages 10.25 assists per set, and enters the NCAA Quarterfinals with 1,302 assists on the year.
About the Yellow Jackets: The Yellow Jackets are currently 24-11 overall, and went 11-3 in Northeast 10 Conference (NE10) competition, finishing third. AIC then entered their NCAA East Regional as the No. 6 seed, and were able to defeat the No. 3 seed Daemen, the No. 2 seed Adelphi, and the No. 5 seed Holy Family. This marked their second East Region title in the past three seasons. Prior to 2016, the program had never won an NCAA Tournament game. Senior setter Dolores Kopren runs the offense, sitting with 1332 assists one the season. Junior outside hitter, Jana Potic, leads the Yellow Jackets in kills with 453. Following her efforts fellow outside hitter, sophomore Andrea Serra, with 436. Finally, the Yellow Jackets' libero is Evelyn Lopez, has stated 630 digs in her senior campaign. All of the players listed received East Region All-Tournament Team accolades.
Series History: This is the first time in program history that the Spartans will face the Yellow Jackets.
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