MEDFORD, Mass. – With perhaps their best showing of the weekend the 23rd ranked Pirates of Southwestern University (Texas) defeated volleyball by the final of 3-0 Sunday afternoon at Cousens Gymnasium on the final day of the Beacons Invitational. Southwestern defeated UMass Boston by the finals of 25-13, 25-15, and 25-21.
With Sunday's loss UMB closed out their annual tournament, which featured some of the top competition in the country, with a record of 1-2. Southwestern posted a 3-1 record at the end of the Beacons Invite, with their only loss in the tournament coming at the hands of fourth ranked and 2011 national runner-up Christopher Newport University.
The loss dropped the Beacons to 13-7 on the year, while the Pirates will return home with a 17-7 mark overall. It also marked only the second time this season that UMB has dropped two consecutive matches. The only other time came in the beginning of the season when the Beacons fell to nationally ranked California Lutheran and the University of La Verne (Calif.) as part of the Pacific Coast Classic in Clermont, California.
Proving to be the biggest factor in Sunday's match was the all-around consistent play of the Pirates, especially in the first two sets. Defensively, the Pirates neutralized the Beacons hitters with a strong dig or at-least a block attempt at the net. Combined UMass only scored 15 kills respectively in the first two sets. Southwestern took advantage of their strong play as they fired off kill-after-kill to take gain some room on the scoreboard. Through the first two sets, the Pirates posted back-to-back 15 kills and hit .275 in the opening frame and .382 in the second.
Finally after falling in the 2-0 hole the Beacons began to show life as they started hitting their marks. Unfortunately the third set rally was not enough as the Pirates continued to fire on all cylinders scoring 16 kills on 38 attempts (.342). UMB closed out the final set of the tournament with 15 kills on 39 attempts (.282).
Sophomore Kirsten Morrison (North Reading, Mass.) led the Beacons with a team-high eight kills, while Southwestern's Kaitlyn Foster led the contest with nine kills of her own. Behind the 6'2" hitter was Corrine Porter (Huntington Beach, Calif.) who posted seven kills in the non-conference loss.
Setter Emma Rocha (Boynton Beach, Fla.) led the team with 22 assists and also had eight digs. Porter led the contest with 14 digs, while Kayla Wilson (San Jose, Calif.) finished second with 12. Southwestern's defense was fueled by Kaitlyn Foster and Chandler Lentz who each had 10 digs. Lacey Strickland totaled 29 assists to fuel the Pirates 46 kills and .330 attack percentage.
Volleyball returns to action on Tuesday when they host Western Connecticut State University at 6 p.m. at Boston College High School. Prior to the start of the match the Beacons will honor their three senior members in Wilson, Shannon Thompson (Moorpark, Calif.) and Mirielle Juarez (Los Angeles, Calif.).