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The Mass Media

Volleyball fights hard but falls in LEC semifinals

Olivia Reid
The Beacons celebrate after a victory against Keene State College. Photo by Olivia Reid / Photography Editor.

UMass Boston Women’s Volleyball began the postseason as the fourth seed in the Little East Conference tournament. The first matchup on the road to the championship was against the Keene State College Owls. Beacons Athletics reported that the first time these two met this season, the Owls flew down to Beaconville Oct. 14 and got swept 3–0 in a dominating showing by the Beacons. [1] Fast forward three weeks later to Nov. 7, the Owls were back and wouldn’t go down without a fight this time; thankfully, history was on UMass Boston’s side. 

In the first set, Keene State had a series of stable three-point runs, but the Beacons responded with a bigger run of six, as the Owls let the lead slip through their fingertips and UMass Boston took set one, 25–14. 

The second set started off much tighter for the Beacons. Keene State kept it contested and was in striking distance, down by three points at one point with 18–15. However, an Owls’ attack error was the last straw for the Beacons, as they ended the set on a rapid eight-to-one run. The second set ended with the Beacons outscoring the Owls 25-11, taking the set and beginning set three just one win away from the semi-finals. 

Set number three was a back-and-forth affair; both teams kept the score relatively close throughout, but later in the set, UMass Boston was able to jump to a short-lived 15–11 lead. The Owls came back and seized a two-point 17–15 lead. The Beacons would not back down and quickly tied it again and refused to let up, winning the set and the match 25–16. UMass Boston punched their ticket to the LEC semi-finals against the one-seeded UMass Dartmouth Corsairs, as described by Beacons Athletics. [2] 

On Nov. 9 the Beacons traveled to Dartmouth, Mass., needing a huge upset to advance to the LEC finals. The last time these two met, the match ended in a degrading sweep for UMass Boston. The Corsairs were undefeated in conference play and looked to stay that way. The Beacons had a tough climb ahead of them, but momentum was on their side. 

The first set saw the Beacons grab an early 3–2 lead, but UMass Dartmouth quickly turned it around to lead 8–4 and wouldn’t hold back. UMass Boston was able to shrink it to 8–6, but the Corsairs proved to be too strong, scoring points all over and winning the set 25–13. 

The second set was pretty much the same story. The Beacons kept it close early on, turning a 4–1 slippage into a 5–4 lead. Impressive kills from Livia Trindade and Paige Coulson extended the lead to 7–5, but UMass Dartmouth subsequently took the set into their own hands and jumped on a run to a 15–8 lead. The Beacons were able to cut the deficit to four, but ultimately lost 25–13. The team was now in a deep 2–0 hole and needed the rare reverse sweep to pull off a rigid upset and advance to the finals. 

In the third set, kills from Paige Coulson, Dylan Wertzberger and Mikayla Cleary helped UMass Boston reach a 10–10 tie, but that was as close as they got to a set win. The Corsairs made it rain points and secured the third set with another 25–13 win, taking the match and dominating the set.

The Beacons ended the year with a promising 17–10 record under first-year Head Coach Stacy Cheney. It was their best finish since 2018. Ally Dean finished off her collegiate career with the seventh most digs in program history at 990. Terry Broughal finished her career with 197 blocks, which Beacons Athletics notes is the eighth most in program history. [3] Although 2023 didn’t end the way they wanted, there’s still a bright future ahead. Cheney’s coaching prowess played a massive role in the Beacons’ success, and she has proven in just one year that she can bring the best out of volleyball’s players. Moving forward, the Beacons will look to improve on this year’s mark, and though this year didn’t go as planned, the team has been set up for success for the coming seasons.

[1] https://beaconsathletics.com/sports/womens-volleyball/schedule 

[2] https://beaconsathletics.com/news/2023/11/7/womens-volleyball-volleyball-downs-the-owls-in-straight-sets-advance-to-little-east-semis.aspx 

[3] https://beaconsathletics.com/news/2023/11/9/womens-volleyball-volleyball-swept-out-of-lec-semifinals-at-dartmouth.aspx 


About the Contributor
Olivia Reid, Photo Editor