(Nashua, NH) The number one overall seeded Rivier Raiders (26-8, 14-0 GNAC) defeated the number two seeded Emmanuel College (17-12, 12-2 GNAC) in the GNAC championship game this afternoon in three straight sets taking their 5th straight GNAC tournament title.
The Raiders were led through their playoffs by the strong play of the tournament MVP junior Steve Visentin (Cheshire, CT). Visentin had 33 assists in the championship game while making exciting sets for his hitters to lead their offensive attack against the Saints. Sophomore Aaron Almario (Alhambra, CA) was all over the ball for the Raiders as he continued his dominance that he has showed throughout the season registering 15 kills and 3 blocks to amass a total of 17 points. Defensively the Raiders were led, as they have been all season, by their captain senior Chris Convertito (Trumbull, CT) who led the team with 7 digs and a number of highlight reel plays.
For the Saints, they put forward a strong effort as they have all season pushing the Raiders throughout the entire series and never letting in. The captain of the Saints, junior Nick Updike (Manhattan Beach, CA) turned out the best all-around performance for the visitors as he totaled 5 kills, 22 assists, 2 digs, and a game high .556 kill percentage. Offensively the Saints were led on the court by freshman Ashanti Jackson (Sacramento, CA) who amassed a team high 10 kills and 10.5 overall points. Senior Tim Ramistella (Westport, CT) was the dig leader with 6 while freshman Cody Diehl (Derry, NH) had 4.
The 2012 GNAC All-Tournament team was announced post game and three Raiders were honored. Tournament MVP Steve Visentin was joined by Convertito and senior Andrew Corwin (Framingham, MA). Also named to the team was Carlos Torres of Albertus Magnus, Don Dias of Johnson and Wales and both Updike and Alex Petty of Emmanuel.
Rivier will now wait for the pairings of the first ever NCAA Division III Men's Volleyball Tournament which should be released by Tuesday.