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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Volleyballs Record Breaking Dynamic Duo Are Back for Title

Volleyballs Record Breaking Dynamic Duo Are Back for Title
Volleyballs Record Breaking Dynamic Duo Are Back for Title

Transitioning into a new team is never an easy task. Just ask UMass Boston volleyball player Kate McWhorter. Last season marked the third such transition for McWhorter after stints with Concordia-Irvine and California State Bakersfield.

This time proved to be a lot easier, and the senior can partially thank her choice of attire for that.

“I remember it was preseason and she was wearing a Red Sox jersey,” said teammate Kate White. “I was confused as to why a girl from California was wearing a Red Sox jersey. It was a good conversation starter.”

It would also serve as the foundation for a great relationship between McWhorter and White, a pairing that would help produce the most dominant 1-2 punch in the programs’ history.

After what McWhorter and White have accomplished over the last two seasons, calling them dominant would be an understatement. Together, the duo have helped the Beacons record two of the best seasons in school history. They’ve also helped rewrite a slew of school records along the way.

White stands alone as the Beacons career leader in both matches and sets played with 124 and 423 respectively. She also has 1,181 career kills, making her the only player in school history to surpass the 1,000 kill plateau. Her 2,913 career total attacks is also a record.

“I think it’s great,” said head coach Terry Condon. “She came in when we weren’t very good and went through a couple of really hard years. I’m glad we’re ending her career on such a high note. She’s worked so hard and deserves it.”

Although she’s only played two seasons for the Beacons, that didn’t stop McWhorter from leaving her mark in the record books as well. Her 493 kills in 2008 stands as the school record for kills in a season. Her career total of 924 kills with the Beacons has her ranked second behind only White. She also holds the record for the best career total attack percentage with an impressive .378 mark.

“It’s pretty cool,” McWhorter said. “It means a lot to help out this program.”

Sure, the numbers are great. But what they don’t state is the journey it took the two to get to where they are now.

“I’ve learned so much over my career,” McWhorter said. “This game is about maturity. You get better and play smarter as you get older. You’re scared as a freshman, but as a senior you’re more relaxed and focused. It’s a big difference.”

Condon has noticed the development as well.

“Between this year and last year, McWhorter has grown tremendously,” she said. “She’s been more of a leader and taken a lot of responsibility for what happens on and off the court.”

As for White, she’s currently one of the Beacons’ most vocal leaders, but that wasn’t always the case.

“Her first year, I don’t think she said one word,” Condon said. “Now we talk all the time. Just seeing the growth in maturity has been really nice to watch.”

That growth was especially evident in the Beacons’ groundbreaking run last season. McWhorter and White played critical roles on a Beacons’ team that found themselves just two points away from being crowned Little East Conference tournament champions.

The loss only added fuel to the fire.

“After last year, I just couldn’t wait until this year,” White said. “It just motivates you to work harder in practice. It makes you think about everything, like what you eat and how long you sleep.”

McWhorter and White have taken it upon themselves to make sure everyone else on the team feels the same way. Even the newcomers.

“We’ve told the freshman the stories,” McWhorter said. “We got them pumped up and made them want it as bad as we do.”

That will to win was on display during the Beacons’ semi-finals match-up against Rhode Island College. McWhorter and White dominated as they led the Beacons to a straight sets victory. McWhorter put down a game high 16 kills to go along with 13 digs, while White added 11 kills with a blistering .692 hitting percentage.

When the stakes are raised, the best athletes always seem to raise their game to another level. McWhorter and White are no different.

“I think it’s their competitiveness,” Condon said. “They just refuse to lose. They have that tremendous desire to win.”

Thanks to their efforts, McWhorter and White now find themselves one game away from capturing the title that eluded them last year. They return with one more year of experience under their belts and a desire to not allow history to repeat its self.

However, while winning the Little East Conference tournament is the Beacons’ ultimate goal, it’s not where they hope to end their season.

“If we win, there’s no stopping us,” McWhorter claimed. “We’ll go to the NCAA tournament afterwards. I want to go as far as we can so that this program just skies through the roof.”

It’s that selfless attitude that has helped bring McWhorter and White so much success over their careers. It also just might be the attitude that helps them bring home the Little East Conference title to UMass Boston.

You couldn’t write a more perfect storybook ending for two players who’ve given their all every time they’ve stepped onto the court.

About the Contributor
Sebastian Lena served as the sports editor for The Mass Media the following years: 2009-2010 Lena also served as business manager Fall 2011