Nov. 16, 2010

ST. LOUIS, MO - The University of Massachusetts Boston women's volleyball team will open play in the Elite-8 Round of the NCAA Division III Tournament in St. Louis, Missouri, on Friday when it faces Calvin College at 4:00 p.m. (EST) in the Washington University Athletic Complex. The Beacons will be joined at the national finals by New York University, Emory University, St. Thomas, Juniata College, Christopher Newport University and host Washington University.

UMass Boston punched its ticket to St. Louis this past weekend after topping a competitive New England field at the Springfield College New England Regional. On Friday, November 12, the Beacons stormed past Maine Maritime Academy, 3-0, to notch only the second NCAA victory in program history. The following afternoon, UMass Boston came from behind to defeat Middlebury College, 3-1, to advance to its first ever regional championship match versus the host Springfield College Pride. In front of a capacity crowd of over 700 fans, the Beacons and Pride battled to the end in a five set thriller with UMass Boston coming out on top, 3-2, to secure the program's first regional championship. The regional title is the second produced by a UMass Boston Athletics team in 2010, as the Baseball program captured the New England title earlier this year to earn a trip to the 2010 NCAA Division III College World Series.

The Beacons are led by sophomore middle hitter Shannon Thompson (Moorpark, CA), who was named the New England Women's Volleyball Association (NEWVA) and Little East Conference Offensive Player of the Year as well as a member of the AVCA New England All-Region team. The two-time All-England, honoree ranks among the national leaders in points per set (13th, 5.35) and kills per set (26th, 4.09). Thompson currently has 479 kills on the year, the most in the Little East Conference, and ranks third all-time for kills in a single season at UMass Boston. She's currently averaging 3.16 digs/g while record a hitting percentage of .291. Sophomore outside hitter Corrine Porter (Huntington Beach, CA) has also been a key player this season with the LEC Rookie of the Year honor and NEWVA All-Rookie Team to her credit. The Huntington Beach, CA product is currently first on the team in service aces with 60, second on the team in kills (343) and third in digs (350). Her 350 digs are the ninth highest single-season total in Beacon history. Junior setter Cassy Hanneman (Denver, CO) was named to the LEC First-Team after another solid season running the UMass Boston offensive unit. The junior is the program's all-time leader in assists with 2,937 en tote. Junior middle hitter Molly Rattigan (Dorchester, MA) was also a First-Team All- LEC selection and has excelled as the Beacons' most effective hitters with a .333 hitting percentage to lead the team and the Little East Conference. Her hitting consistency has been exceptional, producing 31 outings with a positive hitting clip, including 14 efforts that saw her register a .400 mark or better. Sophomore libero Bethany Rossoll (Colorado Springs, CO) has played in 112 total sets as the squad's main libero and leads the Beacons with 4.07 digs per game.

Calvin's road to the National Championship comes after pulling off an upset in the Springfield, OH regional by defeating Wittenburg, 3-1, on their home court. Wittenburg was ranked \#2 in the country in the latest AVCA poll. The Knights are led by sophomore middle hitter Rebbeca Kamp (Orlando Park, IL) who currently averages 4.17 kills per set to go along with a gaudy .443 hitting percentage which currently ranks second in the country among Division III players. Freshman setter Megan Rietema (Grand Rapids, MI) runs the Knights offense and has dished out 1,131 assists on the year for an average of 10.77 per set to rank 10th in the nation. Junior libero Kelly Peterson (Ramsey, MN) averages 3.79 digs per set to lead Calvin's defensive effort while junior middle hitter Renee DeHann (Grand Rapids, MI), Kamp and Rietema combine to average 3.75 blocks per set, as a huge force at the net.

All of the pairings and matchups can be found on the Washington University website at: Washington University Tournament Site

A facebook page for the tournament can also be found at: Washington University Tournament Facebook Page

The official NCAA Division III Tournament site can be found online at: NCAA III Championships Site

A championships banquet will also be held on Thursday night at the St. Louis Ballpark Hilton. Tickets for the banquet are available to the public but must be purchase by 1 p.m. (EST) Wednesday (November 17). The tickets can be purchase online at: Purchase Tickets for NCAA III Volleyball Banquet