The volleyball team huddles during a game in 2019. Photo/ Multimedia Editor Christian Browne

It’s the final week of the season for the Profs as they get ready to take on Rutgers-Newark in their final New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) matchup of the season, where a victory would almost guarantee them the second seed in the tournament.

Winning the second seed would give the team a first-round bye and home field advantage, and that all starts with winning against Rutgers-Newark. 

“We feel pretty good, I mean we’ve done our job so far,” said Coach Deanna Jespersen. “We can’t take any opponent lightly so we’re going to prepare for this like we prepare for any other game. We’ve put ourselves in a great position, we played great ball this last week, so I think we’re in good shape to do our job.” 

Team co-captain Emma Cormican echoed the same sentiment, although she has her eyes on the tournament in this matchup. 

“We’re really excited, this is a big game for us in a weird way because they might not be the best in NJAC, but it just means that we did our job in solidifying that second seed,” Cormican said. “It depends on how the Stockton and Kean game goes, but I know everyone is really excited because if we win this game, we’re almost guaranteed that second seed and the first-round bye and the home court advantage, so that’s what we’re playing for.” 

With the second seed in play, Cormican also said that the team is preparing as if they’re going to make the second seed, however they will be prepared no matter what seed they get.

The Prof’s will be the second seed as long as they beat Rutgers-Newark and Stockton beats Kean. If Kean wins, there will be a three-way tie for first and seeding will be developed from there. 

“Definitely preparing for the two seed. We did our job for the rest of the conference, we’re technically tied for that second seed and when we played Kean we did well and did our job for that game, so we’re just kind of expecting Stockton to show up and take care of their job.” Cormican said. “So we’re definitely preparing for the second seed. And even if we do get that third seed, we’re still going to have that drive to compete and play our best, it doesn’t matter who we’re up against.” 

Coach Jespersen said that she doesn’t look past their most recent game, however when it comes to the tournament, she knows her team is ready to take on whoever they would face. 

“I’m super excited for where they are. I think they haven’t even peaked yet. It’s been really fun watching them grow and get better [this season] and continue to do things and have a different type of fight or grind and purpose.” Jespersen said. “Every time we get to a point where we could either fall back or step forward, we step forward. They have a goal in mind, and they haven’t lost sight of that goal. It’s not something I have to remind them of. They come ready to work, so I’m excited for them.” 

Cormican agreed with her coach.

“It’s awesome, I don’t think we’ve ever had such a good [NJAC] record going into any tournament, so I think the team is super hype about it.” Cormican said. “We just came off a challenging weekend, we knew we needed to go two-zero to show everyone that we’re here for the right reasons and ready to put in work and get it done. I think the team’s in a great spot right now.” 

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