October 2, 2012

Volleyball Blanks Regionally Ranked Tufts, 3-0

BOSTON, Mass. – Led by a match-high 15 kills from senior Shannon Thompson (Moorpark, Calif.), UMass Boston volleyball (11-5) knocked off their second straight regionally ranked opponent this time defeated number eight Tufts University (8-5) by the final of 3-0 Tuesday evening at Boston College High School.

Tuesday's match capped off a very difficult stretch of matches for the Beacons, which featured three of the top teams in all of New England in Tufts, Bowdoin College, and Wellesley University.  Earlier today, Wellesley earned its first national ranking as they were ranked 25th in Division III on the AVCA Coaches Poll.

Thompson's 15 kills came on 28 attempts, with the senior only being charged with three errors in the match (.429 attack percentage).  As a team UMB finished with 34 kills and earned back-to-back 25-17 victories to take a 2-0 lead over the Jumbos.  In the third set UMass jumped out to an early lead, but the Jumbos fought back and actually tied the match at 19-19 on a service and then took a one-point lead on a Beacons attack error.

However the late run by the Jumbos was halted as the Beacons rattled off a 6-0 run to take the 3-0 non-conference victory.  Tuesday's win marks the second straight win for the Beacons over Tufts and tied the all-time series at 4-4.  Last season UMass defeated the Jumbos on their home court in a thrilling 3-2 victory.

Also having a strong match for UMass was Kirsten Morrison (North Reading, Mass.), who scored key points as well as a huge solo block to keep the Beacons momentum going in the first two sets.  Setter Emma Rocha (Boynton Beach, Fla.) finished the match with 19 assists, and also scored a pair of aces.  Defensively Kayla Wilson (San Jose, Calif.) led the Beacons in digs with 14, followed by Corrine Porter (Huntington Beach, Calif.) with 10.

At the net it was Thompson and reigning Little East Conference Rookie of the Week Briana Sousa (Swansea, Mass.) who led the charge as Thompson finished with two solo blocks and three block assists, while Sousa posted five block assists.  With Tuesday's match, Sousa has now recorded a combined 16 block assists in the last two matches respectively.

For the Jumbos it was Isabel Kuhel, who recorded a team-best six kills.  Kendall Lord finished 22 assists and also had five digs to her name as well.  Virginia Clay tallied 17 digs, while the Jumbos as a team finished with a combined 7.5 total blocks. 

Volleyball will take a much needed break and will not return to action until next Tuesday when they travel to UMass Dartmouth for a 7 p.m. Little East Conference match.