Five From Volleyball Earn All-Conference Accolades
NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass.—The Little East Conference announced the 2012 all-conference teams and major award winners Tuesday afternoon. Shannon Thompson (Moorpark, Calif.) was named Offensive Player of the Year for the third straight season, while Emma Rocha (Boynton Beach, Fla.) became the sixth Beacon to earn the title of Rookie of the Year.
Joining Thompson on the First Team All-Conference team is senior libero Kayla Wilson (San Jose, Calif.). The Beacons placed three players on the Second Team All Conference squad with Corrine Porter (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and Kirsten Morrison (North Reading, Mass.) joining Rocha as honorees.
The five selections to the All-Conference teams are tied for the program record set last season, when the Beacons had three First Team selections and two second team honorees.
Thompson wrapped up her career for the record books at UMass Boston with her third straight selection as the Offensive Player of the Year and fourth straight year of being named to the First Team. The senior from Moorpark, CA is the first player to be named Rookie of the Year and a three-time Offensive Player of the Year recipient. Former Western Connecticut State University setter Jayme Rosario '01 was named a three-time LEC Player of the Year before the conference began naming Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year honorees. She is the first player in UMass Boston history to be named a four-time All Little East Conference First Team honoree. After already holding the Beacons program mark for kills (1745), she set the career records for digs (1169), block solos (119) and total attacks (3809) this season. The three-time AVCA All-American led all LEC players in conference games with a .410 hitting percentage and finished second with her 4.71 kills per set and 99 total kills. Overall, she finished third in the conference with a .276 hitting percentage and fourth with 3.8 kills per set, despite facing a schedule that included 13 teams which were regionally ranked by the AVCA Poll. She led the Beacons in hitting percentage, kills per set and total blocks (76), while helping UMass Boston earn their fourth straight LEC regular season and tournament titles. She was the first player to be named the Little East Conference Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament three times and was named Offensive Player of the Week three times and Defensive Player of the Week on one occasion this season.
Rocha became the fourth straight Beacon to garner Rookie of the Year status after stepping into the starting setter role from day one. She joins Thompson, Porter and Morrison as Rookie of the Year honorees currently on the Beacons roster. The freshman from Boynton Beach, Fla. led the Beacons and finished fifth in the conference with 5.58 assists per set and 558 assists in 100 sets. Her 558 assists heading into the NCAA Tournament this weekend are good for ninth most in a single-season in Beacons history. She finished second on the team with 37 assists and fourth on the Beacons with her 1.67 digs per set. She was named LEC Rookie of the Week on two separate occasions this year. With her selection to the second team, UMass Boston has now had a setter on an All-Conference team in each of the past five years, between Rocha and Cassy Hanneman ('12).
Wilson earned her first ever Little East Conference selection after a phenomenal season in the blue and the white. The senior captain from San Jose, CA set career-highs with 4.23 digs per set and 410 total digs to finish second in the conference. Wilson's calm presence along the back, helped UMass Boston finish first in the conference in LEC games in opponent's hitting percentage at .070. Wilson was part of a defense that held conference opponents to a league-low 1.04 aces per set and just 6.88 kills per set. The second-year Beacon has quickly found a spot in the Beacons record book, as she sits seventh all time for a single season in digs with her 410 and sixth all-time with 764 total digs. She has also added 27 digs this season, while chipping in with 13 assists. She was named Defensive Player of the Week for the week of September 17-23 for the first time in her career.
Porter becomes only the third player in program history to be named an All-Conference honoree in three straight seasons. The junior outside hitter from Huntington Beach, CA has been named a Second Team All-Conference selection in each of her first three seasons and was the 2010 LEC Rookie of the Year. This season, she finished second on the Beacons with 1.93 kills per set and 3.30 digs per set. She finished second on the team with 695 total attacks and added 20 service aces and 17 total blocks. She continued her steady attack on the Beacons record books, moving past former teammate Molly Rattigan '12 into fifth place all-time in program history with 850 kills. With another strong season next year, Porter would become only the third player in UMB history to reach 1000 kills for her career. More impressively, Porter's 330 digs put her at 995 digs for her career, just five short of becoming the third player in UMB history to reach that mark and second player to reach the 1,000 digs and kills club. With an additional season, Porter has a chance to eclipse Thompson for the all-time Beacons mark (1,169). She was named Offensive Player of the Week once this season.
Morrison continued her impressive career as a Beacon, earning her third All-Conference selection in three seasons at UMass Boston. The dual sport sophomore from Reading, Mass. earned her second straight Second Team All-Conference selection in volleyball, after being named the LEC Rookie of the Year in 2011. After a slow start to the year, Morrison finished the season on fire, finishing third on the team with 1.51 kills per set and a .225 hitting percentage. She was even better at the net, finishing just behind Thompson with .60 blocks per set and 13 block solos. She finished eight in the conference in overall hitting percentage and third in LEC play with a .330 mark. Morrison added 22 assists and four service aces on the season.