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The Mass Media

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

Beacon Blowout

Volleyball
Volleyball

Led by Tournament MVP Shannon Thompson, the 20th ranked Beacons became only the third program in the history of the Little East Conference tournament to win three straight tournament titles, as UMB defeated top seed Plymouth State by the final score of 3-0 Sunday afternoon, Nov. 6, at Foley Gymnasium. The Beacons were thrilled. Captain Frana Burtness-Adams said, “It’s an incredible feeling. For four of our players, it’s their third straight conference championship, which is every college player’s dream. It was also a position we hadn’t been in, which were the underdogs; so it was nice to come out on top, especially against a team that had beat us a week prior on our own court. It’s great.”

Thompson’s Tournament MVP marked the second straight for the 6 foot 2 Middle, as she closed out the championship Sunday with 15 kills and a .500 hitting percentage. She was charged with just three errors on 24 attempts, and played a major part in carrying the Beacons past Plymouth in the first two sets. Defensively, she recorded 11 digs to earn her second straight double-double of the conference tournament.

Also having a standout day was sophomore Corrine Porter, who posted a combined 13 kills on 21 attempts. Porter closed out the first two sets with back-to-back service aces to give UMB a 2-0 lead on the scoreboard.

Freshman Kirsten Morrison had her best match of the season against the Panthers. Any time she was served the ball, Morrison put everything she had behind it, and finished with seven kills. She also came up big with two solo blocks and two block-assists.

At the net, Molly Rattigan scored some crucial points with some creative moves. The senior tallied six kills, while also coming up with a pair of big block-assists. Junior Kayla Wilson had a strong match from the back line as she tallied 10 digs.

Sunday’s match truly could have gone either way in the first two sets. The two teams battled back and forth for every point. Plymouth State had all the momentum coming into the championship match after shutting out the fifth-seed Warriors of Eastern Connecticut State on Saturday, Nov. 5, and blanking UMB a few weeks ago, ending their nearly two-year home-match win streak.

Once the whistle blew, both teams dug in deep and were ready to do whatever it took to bring home a title. Combined, the two teams were tied on the scoreboard 13 times in the first set alone, with the lead only changing hands twice. Every time UMB would go on a run, Plymouth would answer right back with one of its own.

Tied at 23-23, the Beacons got a huge point from Morrison to put UMB in position for the win. Porter then went to the end line to serve what would be the deciding point. The sophomore crushed the ball over the net, and just as it looked to be going out, a Plymouth State player tried to keep it in, which she could not do as it shot off of her arms and off the back wall.

Now with the 1-0 lead, UMB knew the biggest set was the second. Just like the first, the two teams went back and forth, trading point for point and run for run. The second set featured a total of eight lead changes and saw the two teams tied a combined 18 times. UMB seized control of the set late, when they took advantage of three straight errors by the Panthers. That, combined with a kill from Porter, and then her second set-winning ace, gave the Beacons the 2-0 lead.

The final set was all UMB from start to finish. The only time the score was tied was in the very beginning. After that the Beacons just rolled right past the Panthers. On two different occasions the Beacons held an eight-point advantage.

UMB will begin their tournament run on Friday, Nov 11 against NY Polytech in Springfield, Massachusetts. Check www.ncaa.com for updates and scores.