HOLLAND, Michigan – Facing their biggest challenge of the 2013 season volleyball looked to pull off perhaps the biggest upset of NCAA Championship volleyball history as they faced the top team in all of Division III in Calvin College. The Beacons nearly earned a win in the first game and scored nine straight points to take the third game but eventually fell to the Knights by the final of 3-1 Thursday afternoon at the DeVos Fieldhouse on the campus of Hope College at the 2013 NCAA Championship National Tournament.
With the loss the Beacons season ends with a record of 24-16, while Calvin improved to 33-1. The No. 1 Knights will face the Eagles of Emory University in tomorrow's semi-final match. For UMass Boston they closed out a very memorable 2013 with their fifth straight Little East tournament title and second straight NCAA Regional crown.
Having perhaps her best match of her entire college career, one that will stand in the record books as one of the best Corrine Porter (Huntington Beach, Calif.) recorded the Beacons lone double-double with 11 kills and 14 digs. The senior from Huntington Beach, California also notched a pair of block assists and had a team-best four service aces.
After the standout senior was Kirsten Morrison (North Reading, Mass.) who had nine kills followed by Julia Murphy (Canton, Mass.) who finished with eight kills. The two middles also finished with four block assist and one solo stop respectively. Freshman libero and AVCA All-Region Honorable Mention selection Elizabeth Glavan (Edina, Minn.) led the Beacons defense with a total of 16 digs, to cap off an amazing freshman season as she became one of the top liberos in all of Division III volleyball.
Senior Megan Pollock (Wilton, Calif.) capped off one of the most interesting careers in Beacons history as the outside hitter turned setter capped off her amazing career with 29 assists, eight digs, and three aces.
Thursday's match which marked the second time that the Beacons have faced the Knights in the first round of the NCAA Tournament got off to a slow start in the first game. With four freshmen in the starting line-up the Beacons had to shake their nerves as they faced the Knights who had their eyes set on taking on local rival Hope College in Saturday's national championship match.
The two teams would battle back and forth throughout the opening game with UMB exchanging control of the lead with the Knights. UMass would eventually take a 23-22 lead following a solo block from Murphy. Unforutnately the Kngihts would sneak by following a service and attack error by the Beacons to give Calvin a 25-23 decision.
The second game from start to finish was controlled by the Knights as they blew by the Beacons to earn a 25-13 victory. Leading 2-0 on the scoreboard and with all the momentum in their corner the Knights and their near 1,600 fans in attendance, most of which were in the corner of Calvin thought the match was over.
However the Beacons had other ideas as they went toe-to-toe with the top team in the country. Despite many attempts to separate themselves on the scoreboard the Beacons were unable to overcome a towering front line, which including the 6'2" AVCA DIII National Player of the Year. Calvin would eventually move into match point which would bring their fans to their feet. Unfortunately UMass decided that their season was not over yet as the Beacons rattled off nine straight points to defeat the Knights 26-24.
Looking to tie the match at 2-2, the Beacons tried to muster whatever energy and strength they had leftover. Despite surrendering the game, Calvin managed whether the hard fighting Beacons and eventually earned a 25-18 decision. Porter was tremendous throughout the match scoring multiple key points to keep the Beacons in the contest.
For the Knights Maggie Kamp led the match with 21 kills (.438 hitting percentage) and 12 digs. Kristen Zietse totaled 21 digs, while the National Player of the Year Megan Rietema finished with 39 assists, seven kills, 12 digs, one solo block and four block assists.