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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Finding a New Home

The Lady Beacons volleyball team finished 15-14 last season, with their season concluding in a Little East Conference tournament loss to Plymouth State University. While they may have gotten over that loss, they’ll be feeling the effects of losing sophomore Emily Thompson, who transferred this year to Northern Michigan University.

Thompson loved being a Beacon, but when a top Division II school near her home state offered her a scholarship, it was too much to pass up. Her loss will be felt this year, as her 445 digs led UMass Boston a season ago. While her time was short on The Peninsula, she enjoyed the time she spent in the Clark Center, developing as a player while coming to love teammates and coaches.

” I loved volleyball at UMB, and everything about it was awesome,” Thompson said. “The coaching staff was amazing and the girls were so fun.”

Thompson knew that leaving her teammates was going to be tough, because they had grown to be friends together. In particular, she mentioned Natalie Crist, Megan MacAuley, and Nina Sullivan as girls that motivated her on the court and supported her off of it as well.

“They are amazing friends and were hardworking teammates,” Thompson explained. “They made me want to go to practice every day.”

In addition to her friends, Thompson already misses the coaching staff at UMass Boston, and in particular head coach Terry Condon.

Said Thompson: “Terry was one of my favorite coaches. She was amazing on and off the court, and was always willing to help with whatever we needed.”

Thompson’s path to UMB was unlikely from the beginning, as the 5’9″ dig specialist hails from Wisconsin. But she didn’t let a little thing like geography stand in the way of plans for her collegiate volleyball career.

“Ever since I was really little I wanted to go ‘far away’ and play volleyball,” Thompson said. “During my senior year [in high school], my dad and I went to check out UMass Boston and I had the best experience ever. I fell in love with Boston.”

However, that love affair was a fleeting one. Once the Midwest (and in particular, Northern Michigan) began to call her name, Thompson couldn’t help but listen. So when the Wildcats of Northern Michigan University made a call, Thompson jumped at the opportunity and packed her bags up one more time.

It’s not difficult to see why Thompson was enamored with the Wildcat volleyball program. Northern Michigan University has a sterling reputation in Thompson’s sport of choice. The Wildcats compete in NCAA Div. II, and had a stretch of dominance in the early 1990’s. They won national titles in volleyball in 1993 and 1994, and bookended those championships with runner-up finishes in 1992 and 1995. This elite program wanted Thompson for the next three years, which says something about her skills.

The Wildcats finished 20-12 last year in a competitive Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and offered Thompson a scholarship to join the squad. Her 445 digs for UMB a season ago would have placed her fifth on the Northern Michigan all-time, single-season dig record book. Pretty impressive, considering last year was Thompson’s first playing collegiate volleyball.

However, a recurring shoulder injury had other plans for Thompson . Season-ending surgery was required to repair the muscle, and Thompson’s future is in doubt in regards to volleyball. While she’s happy with her new experiences at Northern Michigan, she can’t help but reminisce on her short but eventful stay in Boston.

“I love my new school but I do miss UMass [Boston] and all the people,” Thompson said. “I met some great people and got to do what I love the most, which is play volleyball.”