Volleyball Downs Hawks, 3-1 to Advance to NCAA Regional Championship

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – The improbable season continues as volleyball (23-15) overcame a less than stellar performance to defeat the Hawks of Roger Williams University (31-4) to earn a spot in the NCAA Division III Regional Tournament championship match Saturday afternoon at Chandler Gymnasium on the campus of Williams College.

With Saturday's victory the Beacons have secured a spot in the championship match for the fourth straight year and will have a chance to defend their 2012 crown against the winner of the Springfield College/Williams College match.  The victory also improved UMB's all-time NCAA Tournament record to 11-4, while the Hawks fell to 1-5 all-time in NCAA play.

The Beacons, who were just dominant in Friday's first match, had to dig deep in Saturday's contest as they struggled to build any momentum due to more than normal amount of service and attack errors.  Luckily the Hawks also struggled in the match, which gave the Beacons the opportunities they needed to earn the victory.

UMass Boston managed to edge the Hawks for the first set win, 25-23, having trailed behind until the score tied at 21-21. Roger Williams began the set strong, setting a tough front row and earning kills by Krystie Luczynski, Kristen Boyer, and Brittany McMullen.

The Hawks managed to keep their lead thanks to blocks and kills by McMullen and Andrea Gorman, but the Beacons countered with aces and kills, until the score reached 15-12, Roger Williams, and the Hawks called their first time out. UMB struggled with errors coming out of the time out, and called their own time out once the score reached 12-17, RW.

The Beacons gained momentum dramatically, showing great ball control and hitting by Julia Murphy (Canton, Mass.), Megan Pollock (Wilton, Calif.), and Bri Sousa (Swansea, Mass.). Murphy and Sousa combined for 10 kills respectively, while Pollock tallied 24 assists.  Boston finally gained lead with Murphy's service ace, and took the set, 25-23, thanks to Amber Clemon's (Simi Valley, Calif.) kill.

Roger Williams kept their play strong, but Boston managed to carry their momentum to the second set, always pushing ahead three our four points above the Hawks. The tape was hot during this set, as Roger Williams' and Boston's front row battled several times at the net. Roger Williams called the first time out at 6-10, Boston, but failed to catch up as Boston raked in the points. Kills by Kirsten Morrison (North Reading, Mass.) and Corrine Porter (Huntington Beach, Calif.) won the Beacon's second set, 25-21.  Morrison was once again the Beacons most consistent hitters as she recorded a .429 hitting percentage scoring 10 kills on 21 attempts with only one error.  Porter's strong played continued as the senior finished with 10 kills and 10 digs.  Defensively Porter looked to back row partner Elizabeth Glavan (Edina, Minn.) to help carry the load as she combined for 18 digs.

The Hawks shifted the momentum in the third set, gathering a quick 4-1 lead with the help of Boyer. The Beacons fought back, with Morrison and Murphy smashing the ball until the score was tied at 9-9. The Beacons called the first time out of the game after falling behind, 9-12, but Roger Williams remained strong with a big front row lead by McMullen, Luczynski, and Sarah McAniff. After a strategic rollshot by Porter, the score inched closer, 23-18, Roger Williams, and the Hawks called their first time out. Their comeback in the third set was sealed, and two big kills by McMullen ended the set, 25-18, RW.

The fourth set began slowly, both teams having trouble keeping their hits in, until the score was tied 5-5. Boston's Patsy Boland (Chicago, Ill.) scored two consecutive kills, giving UMB a slight lead of 9-8, quickly countered by RW Nicole Weber's two service aces. Another kill by Boland set the score at a more comfortable 15-12, forcing RW to call the first time out. A few points later, the score grew to 19-14, and RW called their second time out.

The Beacons managed to keep their momentum, and with kills by Morrison and Clemons their lead continued to grow.  UMB called their first time out when the Hawks seemed to be catching up, 23-19, but succeeded in winning the fourth set 25-21.

UMass Boston returns to action tomorrow at 3 p.m. with the winner of the championship match earning the regions bid to the NCAA Championship Tournament in Holland, Michigan. 

Information for this release provided by Williams College Sports Information Department

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R60WBQ-1pQI&feature=c4-overview&list=UU6n45jpi89E_Y2AcB3oG7Fg