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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Ask Bobby #12
September 25, 2023

Volleyball Kicks It

As many as 60 fanatical followers of the UMB women’s volleyball team attended their home game at Clark Athletic Center on Tuesday, October 12. The Boston pilgrims took the field in the first game of ALCS to vainly smother their century-long-foe the New York Highlanders in the Bronx.

Despite the fans’ great sacrifice, the host team succumbed to Salem State College (SSC) by 3-1 (26-30, 30-28, 30-22, 30-22). With the third straight defeat in tow, now the Beacons don’t have a dim hope of a playoff berth with a disappointing 0-5 record against Little East Conference (LEC) rivals (4-10 overall).

The onset of the match turned out to be in favor of the Beacons. A couple of game-opening service aces by sophomore Stephanie Adams convinced the loyal home crowds that the bout that FOX neglected to air was not worth missing, even for a three run double by Hideki Matsui. Helped with unforced errors by the SSC, the Beacons took an early lead with a 13-8 run, five points of them by Adams. The Vikings immediately came back with a 10-5 run, benefiting from defensive miscues by the Beacons, last in the number of digs in the seven-team LEC. The teams followed a toe-to-toe combat form from 19-19 to 26-26, trading single-point advantages.

UMB finally broke the ice by scoring four consecutive times, including Adams’ ninth point to grab the 30-26 opening set.

In the 105-minute match, Adams led the Beacons with 20 points, 14 kills (at an amazing .571) and six aces. Freshman Denise Hill (11 kills and three aces) and 6’3″ junior Agata Matel (eight kills, one ace, and five blocks) followed with 14 points apiece. Matel commented, “[My performance] could have been better. I missed several attacks. But overall, I think I played pretty well.”

The second set was again started off by two aces from Adams, the LEC leader in service aces per set with 1.28. Matel, the LEC Defensive Player of the Week, vaunted her dominant spikes and blocks to set the tone for another Beacons’ surge, chasing by 14-15. But rampant spikes by Estrella Kuilan, last year’s Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference first team member, forced UMB to plummet into a humbling17-23 score. UMB’s third-year head coach Ken Goon called the first timeout of the match to provoke an 8-2 run to chase the Vikings by 28-29.

The Beacons’ late rally was dwarfed by the Vikings’ Kristine “taller-than-Matel” Lucas who lambasted it home to rub the tense 30-28 set.

The UMB’s loss of the second set brought the Vikings a momentum. The visitor cruised to win the third set by 30-22 to gain a 2-1 in the best-of-five-set match to push the Beacons into a do-or-die situation.

UMB’s bid to seduce the Vikings into the final set was still alive at the beginning of the fourth set at 11-13. With needlelike spikes by Hill guiding the Beacons’ offense, UMB wasn’t left far behind at 19-24. Deference-makers were SSC ace-attacker Kuilan’s illegal-in-the-division-three spikes and three straight service errors by UMB. With a fatal 5-2 run, the Vikings were granted eight game-ending opportunities. As soon as one point later, the Beacons were readily sent to a shower by Kuilan’s killer-spike to complete the 3-1 come-from-behind victory.

Goon commented about his team’s late-in-set collapse, “We played well at the beginning [of each set]. But we lost crucial points beyond 20. We were afraid of losing those points and couldn’t play aggressively.”

Goon is also concerned about an interim setter freshman Erine Towne who took over the position after sophomore Juliane Farias injured her knee on September 29. Despite Towne’s 30 assists in the match, unsatisfied Goon graded her performance as “fair” due to her erroneous control.

The Beacons have four or five more games to complete the 2004 season. They are scheduled to come back for the season finale against Wentworth Institute at 12 p.m. on Saturday, October 30.

About the Contributor
Shun Hasegawa served as the sports editor for The Mass Media for the following years: 2004-2005