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GNAC Men's Volleyball Pairings Announced; Wentworth Earns Top Seed

GNAC Men's Volleyball Pairings Announced; Wentworth Earns Top Seed

WINTHROP, Mass. – With its victory over Emerson College on Saturday in the regular-season finale, Wentworth Institute of Technology has claimed the top seed in next week's 2016 Great Northeast Athletic Conference Men's Volleyball Tournament.

The Leopards, who have reached 20 wins for the fourth straight season (20-8), finish their conference schedule with a 12-2 mark and went 1-1 against Lasell College, which also went 12-2, but earns the top seed as a result of its 2-0 mark against third-seeded Rivier University in regular-season play.

Lasell earns the No. 2 seed after sweeping Emmanuel College and Johnson & Wales University at Emmanuel on Saturday. Both Wentworth and Lasell have been rewarded with first-round byes on Tuesday straight into Thursday evening's semifinals.

Rivier swept Albertus Magnus College and Mount Ida College in New Haven on Saturday to finish 10-4 in GNAC play, as the No. 3 seed Raiders will host sixth-seeded Emerson Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m.

Fourth-seeded Emmanuel will welcome fifth-seeded Johnson & Wales on Tuesday, also at 7:00 p.m. Emmanuel topped Johnson & Wales on Saturday to cement the first-round match at home. The Saints also captured wins against both Wentworth and Rivier during the regular season.

Now in its fifth season as an associate member of the GNAC for men's volleyball, Wentworth has qualified – and hosted – a playoff match in each season. While this is the first time the Leopards have earned the number one seed, it marks the second time in the last three campaigns the Black & Gold have earned a first-round bye, having finished as the number two seed in 2014. The Leopards notched their first GNAC Tournament victory last season with a 3-0 win over sixth-seeded Emerson in the opening round before falling, 3-0, to eventual champion Lasell in the semifinals.

Wentworth, ranked fourth in the latest NCAA Division III Men's Volleyball Regional Rankings, enters the tournament on a six-match win streak with its last loss coming to Emmanuel (3-2). Of their potential opponents in the semifinals, the Leopards were 2-0 against Johnson & Wales and 1-1 against Emmanuel in the regular season. Should Wentworth advance into the championship match, it would be played at 7:00 p.m., on Saturday, April 9.

The winner of the GNAC Tournament receives an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Men's Volleyball Tournament, which begins on April 16.

2016 GNAC Men's Volleyball Tournament
Tuesday, April 5 - First Round
Match 1: #4 Emmanuel 3, #5 Johnson & Wales 1
Match 2: #3 Rivier 3, #6 Emerson 0

Thursday, April 7 - Semifinals
Match 3: #4 Emmanuel at #1 Wentworth – 7:00 p.m.
Match 4: #3 Rivier at #2 Lasell – 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 9 - Championship
Match 5: Match 3 winner vs. Match 4 winner (at highest remaining seed)