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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Volleyball comes up short in Elite Eight against Calvin College

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Elizabeth Glavan and company celebrate a point

At 3 p.m. on Nov. 21, a large group gathered around a projector screen that had been set up on the upper level of the Campus Center to watch the preeminent athletic power on campus, the volleyball team, play in yet another National Tournament, and they bore witness to a team that played with the hearts of lions and came up just a bit short against number one ranked Calvin College.
Every year, coach Terry Condon delivers a fantastic recruiting class to compliment experienced veterans. The group has managed to return skilled players year in and year out at a school where athletes often don’t finish their four years. For the players who return, they are rewarded with success. This year, for the second year in a row, the Beacons won the New England Regional Championship in the NCAA tournament, which earned them a birth in the elite eight, and a date with the 32-1 Knights.
This season wasn’t like previous ones, as the usually fast starting Beacons stumbled out of the gate, losing five of their first eight matches. This group, however, was all about perseverance and they battled back to win the LEC regular season championship and steamroll through the conference tournament, dropping only one of a possible six sets. They defeated Wellesley, Roger Williams, and host Williams College in the regional tournament before heading off to Michigan for the Elite Eight.
As the season went on, new stars began emerging. Freshman Julia Murphy was named the LEC Co-Offensive Player of the Year, and freshman Elizabeth Glavan was named Defensive Player of the Year. It’s obvious that the future for the Beacons is just as bright as ever. Murphy said, “as a team we all did our part and I believe it was a huge part of our success. I am just so happy I was a part of all this my freshman year with such great teammates. I couldn’t have asked for better teammates to make me a better player every step of the way.”
This run to the National Tournament was perhaps more improbable than their other two recent trips, but the Beacons headed to Michigan believing that a National Championship was within their grasp, but Calvin College was the number one team in the nation and hadn’t lost in more than a month. The Beacons and Knights traded punches in the first set, with UMass Boston taking a 4-1 lead before the Knights scored seven times in a row to make it 8-4. The Beacons would rally to take a 23-22 lead, but Calvin had the last say, scoring the final three points of the set and taking a 1-0 lead in the best three out of five match.
After dropping the second set 25-13, the Beacons had their backs against the wall, facing elimination if they couldn’t win two sets in a row. The situation was dire, with the Beacons down 24-18, and just one point away from a trip home. Corrine Porter, playing in her final match, wasn’t about to let that happen. She unleashed a torrent of scoring, singlehandedly tallying the final eight points of the set, including two on aces, as the Beacons took the third set, 26-24.
Porter said, “I went back to end line thinking this could be my last rally, honestly all I could think about was that I am not ending my career on a missed serve that would not give my team the chance to win this thing. But after the third rally we won on game point, I just knew we were taking the win. We were hungrier to win each point and Calvin just wasn’t even near our mentality.”
As clutch as Porter’s play was in the third set, the deficit was just too much for the Beacons to overcome. They dropped the 4th set 25-18, ending their season with a 3-1 loss in the match. Porter led the way with 11 kills and Murphy tallied 4 blocks.
For junior co-captain Kirsten Morrison, this season was a memorable one. She had often said that she believed this team had a chance at making a run towards a championship, and she was right. When asked about the match, she said, “I thought we fought hard… we never gave up and we pushed back. It was a good experience for the freshmen on the team and you could tell they were nervous but settled in after a little while.” She added, “although we didn’t get the results we wanted, we had the experience of a lifetime and we can start preparing for next year. We are going to go further than ever before.”
Morrison’s optimism has rubbed off on the younger players. Murphy said, “we were the underdog during regionals and we kept proving that we deserved to be where we got because we always played with our hearts. In the Elite Eight we were the underdogs again, and we played a great team, but we knew what we were capable of and that we too were a great team and anything was possible.” She added, “today just wasn’t our day, we played hard and worked hard, but things just weren’t going our way… through it all we weren’t going to go down without fighting and we played with heart and determination.”
“Although the results weren’t what we wanted, I am happy that we have accomplished so much this season. We look forward to working hard in the offseason and next season in order to continue the success that the seniors this year have been a part of for their careers,” Murphy said.