Oct. 23, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - The University of Massachusetts Boston women's volleyball team was ranked second in the first poll released this season by the NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Committee for the New England Region.

The poll consists for the top eight teams in the region. This isn't the first time this season that the Beacons have been recognized in a regional poll, having been ranked first in each of the first three weeks of the campaign in the New England Women's Volleyball Association Division III Coaches Poll. UMass Boston was ranked second in the fourth week and has been ranked third in each of the last two week's surveys. The Beacons have also received attention in the national Division III poll as well, receiving votes in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Poll with nine, 10, seven and six votes, respectively in four successful weeks from September 15 to October 6.

UMass Boston's appearance in the "Others receiving votes" portion of the national poll marks the first time the program has ever been recognized in such a poll.

The Beacons have currently won nine straight matches and 22 of their last 24 to compile a 22-4 record on the season to match the best start in school history after 26 matches. UMass Boston's only losses are to Pomona-Pitzer College, University of La Verne, which was ranked number three in the nation at the time, Tufts University, which is ranked first in New England, and Endicott College. The Beacons defeated Tufts earlier in the season to hand it one of its two losses and Williams College, which was ranked 25th in the nation at the time and is currently ranked third in the region. UMass Boston also boasts victories over regionally ranked MIT (6th NCAA/5th NEWVA) and Trinity College (14th NEWVA).

The Beacons strung together a school-record streak of 13 straight victories earlier this season and have beaten 10 schools they had never defeated before.

UMass Boston is led by senior outside hitter Kate McWhorter (Bakersfield, CA), who was named to the AVCA New England All-Region Honorable Mention team last year, following a season that saw her selected as the Little East Conference Offensive Player of the Year. She has already been named the LEC Player of the Week this year and ranks second in the league with 3.83 kills per set with a .380 hitting percentage to place third among conference leaders. Freshman middle hitter Shannon Thompson (Moorpark, CA) has also been a key to the Beacons' success this season as the league's top rookie with five Rookie of the Week awards already to her credit. She stands fourth among conference leaders with 3.32 kills per set and a .360 hitting mark, while leading the LEC with 0.73 aces per game. Sophomore setter Cassy Hanneman (Denver, CO) has become one of the premier playmakers in the conference after being named the LEC Rookie of the Year last season. She currently ranks third in the league with 9.56 assists per set, despite battling injuries all season and became the school's all-time leader in career assists on September 15 at Suffolk University.

UMass Boston will be in action again on Saturday, October 24 when it hosts a Little East Conference tri-match, taking on University of Massachusetts Dartmouth at 12:00 p.m. and Plymouth State University at 4:00 p.m. The Beacons are currently 3-0 in league play, while Plymouth State owns a 5-0 mark as the last two undefeated teams in conference play.