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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Down But Not Out: UMass Boston Volleyball Rebounds

Beacons+Volleyball+player+Mackayla+Chianco.

Beacons Volleyball player Mackayla Chianco.

Often, change for a team can lead to discomfort and jitters, impacting players’ performances. The 2017 University of Massachusetts Boston Women’s Volleyball team is an example. After sharing coaching responsibilities with Terry Condon for four seasons, Mike Houlihan has taken full reign of the program following Condon’s retirement last year.
It’s understandable, after the guidance from Condon for so long, that the roster has struggled in getting their groove under Houlihan’s approach. Despite this, the club has shown a refreshing return to its winning ways: after losing to Tufts, who snapped a six-match winning streak on Sept. 26, the 6-7 Beacons are back with renewed spirits as they approach the heart of the season, as well as conference play.
Throughout their season-opening losing streak, the Beacons showed some competitive improvement. After a season opening sweep by Susquehanna, the Beacons would win a set in each of the next four losses before grabbing a 2-1 set lead on Marymount University in the final match of the streak, only to lose the remaining two sets. It should be noted that the matches were played as double headers over the first two weekends of the season, which can test a team’s endurance.
Eventually, the efforts and persistence of the team would pay off handsomely with a sweep of Rochester Institute of Technology for their first win of the season. Victories over Anna Maria College, Brandeis University, LEC rival Rhode Island College, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Western Connecticut State University soon followed. All those matches, except Anna Maria, went three sets, with the Amcats being the victim of the Beacons’ second 3-0 victory this season.
With the Sept. 26 loss to Tufts accounted for, the Beacons now hold a 6-7 record, but more importantly a 2-0 record in Little East play with four league games left to play and fifteen overall, plenty of time for the Beacons to improve their record. With 163 kills, Eileen Shi has become the vocal point in the Beacons attack, once again guiding the team. Christina Elliott has been the squad’s top setup player, leading the way with 248 assists, Rachel Maslach not far behind at 219. Elliott also holds the team lead with serve aces at 18, with Maslach, Shi, and Sarah Doyle not far behind in that department. Doyle herself has also become the team’s top defensive player, leading with 18 solo blocks to go with 25 assist blocks. Macayla Chianco has shown to be the Beacon’s vital line of defense on the digging front, earning 240 digs, well ahead of the rest of the roster.
While the team has more losses than last year’s squad, their recent winning streak and the matches left to play offer the prospect that this season can still be a championship one. As time goes by in a season, a team will eventually find their groove and put together a form of consistency that will lead to wins on a regular basis, as this Beacons squad has showcased.
Terry Condon helped to establish a powerhouse program at this university in her 12 seasons, and her successor is more than capable of ensuring those winning ways can continue. The rest of the Little East Conference had better be prepared for what the next month will bring as the season continues on. As we get closer to the conference tournament, the Beacons will look to win their league-record eighth tournament title.