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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Making a Statement

Sophomore middle hitter Shannon Thompson currently leads the LEC with 4.57 Kills per game
Sophomore middle hitter Shannon Thompson currently leads the LEC with 4.57 Kills per game

They say everything is bigger in Texas. The cattle. The football. The food. And as a result of their recent trip to San Antonio, you can make a new addition to that list: the dominance of the UMass Boston women’s volleyball team.

Finding themselves in sunny San Antonio, TX for a week, the Beacons made sure they were all business. As a result, the Beacons were crowned the River City Classic Tournament champions. The squad finished the trip 4-0, including a surprising 3-0 upset of #12 nationally ranked Trinity University (TX).

“This trip made us a better team,” said head coach Terry Condon. “It showed us that we can compete with some of the top teams in the country. We know we have to keep working very hard in order to accomplish our goals.”

With the success the Beacons enjoyed last season, it’d be pretty easy to lose focus of those goals. In a season for the record books, the Beacons rolled to a program-best 30-5 record on their way to capturing their first ever LEC title. They followed that up with a run to the round of 32 at the NCAA Division III tournament.

With great success comes even greater expectations, and with these great expectations comes even greater pressure. However, Condon laughed off that notion, bringing up her teams drive to improve.

“They weren’t satisfied with their finish last year,” she said. “They’ve been working hard to improve their physical condition as well as their volleyball skills. We keep saying that last year is over. It has no bearing on this year.”

However, that didn’t seem to be the case coming into the season with the departures of seniors Kate McWhorter and Kate White. As a result, Condon was left with the burden of filling two big holes in her roster. How big? Put it this way, together McWhorter and White combined for 47% of the Beacons’ total kills last season.

“It’s tough to replace those two,” Condon said. “However, we’ve brought in a very talented group of young players. They showed me a lot about their ability to play and their determination to win at the [River City Classic].”

One of those young players was freshman Corrine Porter (Ladera Ranch, CA). Porter wasted no time making an impact as she smashed 13 kills to go along with 15 digs in her collegiate debut. She finished the tournament averaging 2.14 kills per game and 2.36 digs per game. Her efforts had her recognized as the LEC Rookie of the Week.

“I don’t think the freshman know what pressure is,” Condon said. “They just want to play and win.”

However, they aren’t alone in that aspect. The returning Beacons have come back better than ever, showing no signs of a championship hangover.

Shannon Thompson (Moorpark, CA), last season’s American Volleyball Coaches’ Association New England Freshman of the Year, has come out of the gates blistering. She wrapped up the tournament averaging 4.57 kills per game as well as 3.57 digs per game to go along with a .314 hitting percentage. Thompson gained tournament MVP honors as well as being named the LEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week. Her 4.57 kills per game currently leads the conference.

On defense, Bethany Rossoll (Colorado Springs, CO) has proven to be a force. The sophomore averaged 5.71 digs per game, including an outstanding 23 digs during the Beacons’ upset over Trinity University. Rossoll earned LEC Defensive Player of the Week honors for her play.

“[The returning starters] have all stepped up their game,” Condon said. “They all want to win and will do whatever is necessary to accomplish their goals.”

The goals: repeat as LEC champions. Then win the NCAA tournament. Simple, right? Not so fast.

“Out of conference we no longer have that element of surprise,” Condon said. “Everyone will be gunning for us in and out of conference. But as I keep telling my team, conference is the only thing that matters. We have to win the conference to get into the NCAA tournament.”

Element of surprise or not, the Beacons’ opponents this year will be getting a lot more than they bargained for. They’ll be getting a team that knows what they want. And as they proved last year, if the Beacons want something, they’ll get it.

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