McWHORTER, THOMPSON LEAD VOLLEYBALL OVER WESTFIELD STATE, 3-1, IN FIRST ROUND OF NCAA TOURNAMENT

Nov. 12, 2009

Box Score

MEDFORD, MA - Senior outside hitter Kate McWhorter (Bakersfield, CA) put down 17 kills and freshman middle hitter Shannon Thompson (Moorpark, CA) spiked for 14 kills and added a career-high 21 digs to lead the second-seeded University of Massachusetts Boston women's volleyball team over seventh-seeded Westfield State College, 19-25, 25-14, 25-23, 25-16), this afternoon in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship at Cousens Gymnasium on the campus of host Tufts University in Medford, MA.

Westfield State finishes its season at 19-16. The Beacons, who are ranked second in the latest NCAA Division III New England Women's Volleyball poll, win their school-record 17th straight contest and have won 28 of their last 30 matches to improve to 30-4 overall. UMass Boston is off to its best start in school history and face third-seeded Williams College tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. in the semifinals of the New England Region bracket. Williams defeated number six seed Emerson College, 25-22, 25-14, 25-16, earlier in the day.

The NCAA Tournament win for UMass Boston is the first in the opening round for any team in any sport in school history.

The Beacons took a 4-3 first set lead following a kill by McWhorter, but it would be their last lead of the set as the Owls went on a 7-2 run to take a 10-6 lead. UMass Boston pulled to within 12-10, but it would be as close as it would get the rest of the way as Westfield State scored seven of the next 10 points to take a 19-13 advantage and held on for the set. The Owls scored five unanswered points on the service of senior libero Katie Kurty (Ludlow, MA) to take a 5-2 lead in the second set, but the Beacons matched the run with five straight points of their own on the serve of freshman libero Bethany Rossoll (Colorado Springs, CO) to take a 7-5 margin. The teams were later knotted at 10-10, before UMass Boston reeled off five straight points, including a pair of aces from freshman Frana Burtness-Adams (Fairbanks, AK) and then five of the next six points to take a commanding 20-11 advantage. The Beacons took the set and tied the match at 1-1. Westfield State took another early lead in the third set with a 4-1 advantage, but UMass Boston went on a 4-1 run of its own to tie the set at 5-5. The Beacons took their first lead of the frame at 8-7 and maintained a 13-11 margin, before going on a 7-3 run to take a 20-14 lead. UMass Boston looked to be in control, but the Owls clawed back with a 9-3 burst to tie the set at 23-23, before McWhorter put the game away with consecutive kills to give the Beacons a 2-1 match lead. Westfield State scored the first four points of the fourth set, before UMass Boston responded with a 6-1 stretch to take a 6-5 edge. The Beacons never trailed for the remainder of the set and later opened up a 17-9 advantage, paced by three kills from McWhorter. A kill from senior outside hitter Stephanie Bartkus (North Merrick, NY) pulled the Owls to within 18-13, but it would be as close as they would come. UMass Boston scored seven of the final 10 points to take the match.

McWhorter hit .325 for the match and got down for 10 digs for her 16th double-double of the year in addition to a service ace and a block assist for the Beacons. Thompson added three block assists to her day, while sophomore middle hitter Molly Rattigan (Dorchester, MA) smashed seven kills on a .294 hitting mark to go with four block assists and a dig. Sophomore setter Cassy Hanneman (Denver, CO) posted 35 assists and added seven digs, a pair of aces and a kill, while Rossoll came up with 14 digs and an ace.

Bartkus led Westfield State with 14 kills in addition to six digs and a block assist, while sophomore outside hitter Alex Shaw (East Falmouth, MA) spiked for nine kills on a .261 hitting clip, scooped up six digs, fired an ace and got up for two block assists. Junior outside hitter Rachel Ryan (Westborough, MA) contributed with nine kills, three digs and a block assist. Sophomore setter Kerin DeGirolamo (North Attleboro, MA) directed the offense with a match-high 37 assists to go with 12 digs, while Kurty got down for 17 digs. -beaconsathletics.com-