Nov. 7, 2011
BOSTON, Mass. – Less than 24 hours after winning their third straight Little East Conference crown, the 20th ranked Beacons of UMass Boston (26-4) found out who they will be facing in the 2011 NCAA Division III East Regional tournament. As the number two seed in this year’s tournament the Beacons will be facing the New York University-Polytechnic (23-14), who is the seventh seed, on Friday, November 11 at 12:30 p.m. at Springfield College’s Blake Arena.
The meeting will mark the second between the two programs this season, with UMass earning a 3-0 victory on October 1 as part of the Stevens Institute of Technology Ducks Invitational. The Beacons will be making their third straight NCAA tournament appearance on Friday, while the Fighting Blue Jays will be their second consecutive first-round appearance after winning the Skyline Conference this weekend with their 3-2 victory over Mount Saint Mary.
All-time the Beacons currently carry 4-1 record in the NCAA East Region tournament. Last season, UMass went the distance defeating all three opponents, including the host Pride of Springfield College to earn the program’s first East Region title and first National Championship tournament appearance.
Led by seventh year head coach Terry Condon, the Beacons are looking to repeat as the regional champions and make a serious run in the national tournament. Condon, who was named a two-time AVCA New England Regional Coach of the Year, has led UMass to four-straight 25+ wins season. In 2009 and 2010 the Beacons recorded a program best 30 victories.
When it comes to this year’s tournament, Condon will look to junior All-American Shannon Thompson (Moorpark, Calif.) to lead the Beacons back to the promise land. The Little East Conference tournament MVP, Thompson is currently ranked as one of the top-hitters in Division III women’s volleyball. With her 4.24 kills per set, Thompson is ranked ninth in the country, while her 5.15 points per set ranks her eighth overall. Over the weekend, Thompson combined for 31 kills to earn her second straight tournament MVP honors. In both matches, the 6-2 hitter recorded a double-double as she also tallied 23 digs.
Also adding depth to the Beacons offense which is ranked third in the nation in kills per set with 13.76 will be Molly Rattigan (Dorchester, Mass.) and Kirsten Morrison (North Reading, Mass.). Rattigan’s .427 hitting percentage ranks her fourth in the country, and was the conference leader throughout most of the 2011 season. On the year Rattigan has combined for 244 kills, while also scoring 88 total blocks. Morrison, perhaps played the best tournament of her very young career this past weekend. Currently ranked fourth on the team with 174 kills, Morrison made a strong bid for Little East Conference Rookie of the Year honors in the final three weeks of the regular season.
Sophomore Corrine Porter (Huntington Beach, Calif.) has also had another strong season for UMass as she is ranked second in kills with 287 and digs with 270. Her 39 aces currently leads the team, with two of those coming in the championship match on Sunday.
Proving to be the foundation to the Beacons potent offense is senior setter Cassy Hanneman (Denver, Co.). With a combined 1,067 assists, Hanneman is ranked amongst the top setters in all of Division III women’s volleyball. In the Little East Conference tournament, Hanneman combined for 91 total assists in the 3-1 win over Keene State and 3-0 win over Plymouth State.
Defensively, Thompson leads UMass in total blocks with 97 (1.00 blk/s). Junior Kayla Wilson has emerged as the team’s top digs earner combined for 310 in her first season in Boston. Wilson has also proven to be dangerous from the end-line scoring 28 of the Beacons 226 service aces.
In the other first round matches No. 3 Bowdoin College (26-2) will take on No. 6 Baruch University (24-10) at 3 p.m. No. 4 Tufts University (25-5) will take on No. 5 Roger Williams University (28-3) at 5:30 p.m. No. 1 Springfield College (31-2) will host No. 8 Westfield State University (15-20) at 8 p.m.
The winner of the UMass Boston/NYU-Poly will face the winner of Bowdoin/Baruch at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, while the winner of Tufts/Roger Williams will face-off against the winner of Springfield/Westfield State at 6 p.m.
The championship match will be played on Sunday, with the start time scheduled for 4 p.m.
There will be two different tickets available for this weekend’s tournament. The prices for a single-day pass are \$6 for adults, \$4 for students and seniors (+65), and \$3 for children 12 and under. A weekend pass is priced at \$12 for adults, \$10 for students and seniors (+65), and \$7 for children 12 and under.
For more information about this year’s championship volleyball tournament log-on to http://www.NCAA.com.