WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – Led by Corrine Porter's (Huntington Beach, Calif.) nine kills and 17 digs, volleyball powered past the Blue of Wellesley College to earn a 3-0 win Friday afternoon in the first round of the NCAA Division III Regional Tournament hosted by Williams College.
The win improves the Beacons record to 22-15 and advance to tomorrow's semi-final round which will being at 2:30 p.m. UMass Boston will face Roger Williams University in what will be the third meeting between the two programs this season.
Porter's huge day helped the Beacons earn only their second win ever over the Blue of Wellesley. Earlier this season, Wellesley (28-7) defeated UMass by the same exact score in the Clark Athletic Center Gym. The meeting was the first-ever between the two teams in the NCAA tournament.
Also playing a major part in helping the Beacons offensively was freshman hitter Julia Murphy (Canton, Mass.) who finished with nine kills of her own and a match-high six block assists. Setter Megan Pollock (Wilton, Calif.) was solid from start to finish as she tallied a match-high 31 assists to also go along wit three digs. Freshman libero Elizabeth Glavan (Edina, Minn.) who was just announced as an AVCA All-Region selection put-up a match-high 18 digs to once again anchor the Beacons back row.
Individual performances aside, the Beacons pulled off perhaps one of the biggest comebacks of the year as they rallied from a 10 point deficit in the first game to defeat the Blue by the final of 26-24. Scoring the game-clinching point in the opener was Murphy after receiving a perfect set from sophomore Emma Rocha (Boynton Beach, Fla.). The momentum built from the opening game victory carried over into the final games as UMB cruised to a 25-17 win in the second and a 25-16 win in the third.
As a team UMB took full advantage of all their chances and used strong services to keep the Blue back on their heels. Freshman Pepper Baker (Tallahassee, Fla.) helped the Beacons at the end line as she scored three of her team's eight aces. The hitter, who has stepped up her game in the last few weeks, also recorded a total of 10 digs off the bench for the Beacons.
The opening game got off to a rocky start for the Beacons with Wellesley controlling most of the early play. The two teams exchanged control of the lead, but with a run by the Blue they found them selves in complete control of the contest. That was until a huge block from Amber Clemons (Simi Valley, Calif.) and Bri Sousa (Swansea, Mass.) completely shifted the momentum of the match. Now trailing 20-11, the Beacons began to start chipping away at Wellesley's lead. The Blue would record just four more points, while the Beacons would post a 13-point run of their own to tie the score at 24-24. UMass would take a 25-24 lead on an attack error by the Blue, which would then set-up the game winning kill from Murphy.
In the second game, the Beacons would only trail in the opening minutes, but after taking a 5-4 lead on an error from Wellesley, UMB never looked back. Point after point the Beacons lead continued to grow on the scoreboard, but most importantly their confidence and intensity increased on every play as well.
The third game mirrored the second as the Blue could not come up with an answer for the rolling Beacons. UMB saw strong play from a variety of players in the final game including Sousa, Porter, Patsy Boland (Chicago, Ill.) and Kirsten Morrison (North Reading, Mass.). Boland finished with five kills, while Morrison scored six in the win.
Volleyball returns to action tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. when they face Roger Williams University in the semi-final round of the year's NCAA Regional Tournament.