No. 20 Volleyball One Win Away from a Championship

Nov. 5, 2011

Box Score

PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Junior Shannon Thompson (Moorpark, Calif.) recorded a match-high 16 kills and 12 digs Saturday afternoon as second-seeded University of Massachusetts Boston defeated third-seeded Keene State College, 3-1, in the second semifinal of the Little East Conference Volleyball Tournament at Plymouth State University’s Foley Gymnasium.

Sophomore Corrine Porter (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and freshman Kirsten Morrison (North Reading, Mass.) added 11 kills apiece for the Beacons, who needed to rally after dropping the first set (25-17) to an upset-minded Owls squad. UMD regrouped and took the next three sets, 25-10, 26-24, and 25-21, to close out the match.  UMB improves to 25-4 on the season while KSC drops to 18-13.

UMB earns a berth in Sunday’s championship match at 12 noon at PSU.  The top-seeded Panthers advanced to the final Saturday with a 3-0 triumph over fifth-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University in the first semifinal.

Senior Cassy Hanneman (Denver, Colo.) ran the Beacon offense to the tune of 51 assists while also collecting 11 digs.  Sophomore Brooke Nemethy (Oviedo, Fla.) chipped in with nine kills and junior Kayla Wilson (San Jose, Calif.) was tops at the service line with four aces.

Senior Ellyse Davis (Londonderry, N.H.) led the Owls with 10 kills, while classmates Bridget O’Bryant (Merrimack, N.H.) and Kristen Girard (Red Hook, N.Y.) added nine kills apiece.  Senior setter Laurie Whalen (Niantic, Conn.) ran the offense, finishing with 31 assists, and Whalen and freshman Sammy Dorimo (Leesburg, Va.) contributed 11 and 10 digs, respectively.

An inspired Keene State team came out of the gate and took it to the Beacons, who had swept the Owls in last week’s regular season match.  KSC jumped ahead 10-6 and 13-8 before UMB was forced to call timeout.  The Owls later won eight out of nine points to open up a 21-10 advantage.  UMB staged a late rally but Keene State won the first set, 25-17.

It was UMass Boston’s turn to control play in the second set, as the Beacons stormed to a 9-0 score to start off.  It was UMB the whole way as the Beacons never let up, going on to win the second set 25-10 to tie the match

The pivotal third set was the closest, with 10 tied before the score was deadlocked at 14-14.  KSC pulled ahead 17-16, but UMB came back with six of the next seven points to regain the lead, 22-18.  The teams see-sawed back and forth and it was tied 24-24 when Thompson made two straight kills to give the Beacons set three, 26-24.

UMB started to pull away in the fourth set, leading 10-7, but the Owls came back to tie the set at 19-all.  The Beacons would not be denied and close out the set, 25-21, and the match, 3-1.

Sunday’s championship meeting is a rematch of the regular season contest between UMB and PSU on Oct. 25 in Boston, when PSU upset the 18th-ranked Beacons, 3-0, to earn the top seed in the tournament.

Release provided by Plymouth State University Sports Information Department