Volleyball Downs Johnson & Wales in First Round of NCAA Tournament

Volleyball Downs Johnson & Wales in First Round of NCAA Tournament

MEDFORD, Mass. – Sophomore Eileen Shi (San Francisco, Calif.) posted 16 digs and 15 kills as volleyball picked-up a 3-0 victory (25-22, 25-22, 25-20) over previously undefeated Johnson & Wales University in the first-round of the NCAA Division III Tournament on Friday at Cousens Gym on the campus of Tufts University. 

THE BASICS

UMass Boston 3, Johnson & Wales University 0

UMass Boston (29-4)
Johnson & Wales (33-1)

HOW IT HAPPENED

"That was a great match," said co-head coach Terry Condon. "It was a very tough match. We did not know what to expect from Johnson & Wales because we have not really seen them. They were very good, very good. They played very well. Luckily, we played a little bit better."

The Beacons will now compete against Tufts University in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday at 4 p.m. in Cousens Gym. The Beacons have qualified for the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons and three of the last four years, dating back to the 2013 season. The squad fell in the first round of the tournament last season, while it reached the quarterfinal round in 2013. 

The Wildcats saw their season come to an end, as they went undefeated during their regular-season slate en route to winning the GNAC Championship on Nov. 5. This was the second consecutive appearance for the Wildcats in the NCAA Tournament. 

The Beacons received strong contributions from senior Colleen Koen (Centerville, Mass.) with nine kills, and senior Julia Murphy (Canton, Mass.) who had seven kills, five digs, and four blocks

Sophomore Christina Elliott (Camas, Wash.) carried the offense with her 15 assists, while freshman Melanie Fyda (Park Ridge, Ill.) posted eight kills in her first NCAA Tournament match.  Senior Elizabeth Glavan (Edina, Minn.) had another consistent match as she finished with17 digs in the win.

The Wildcats were led by freshman Maria Coniglio (13 kills, five digs), junior Starsha Tunstall (seven kills), freshman Brylee Frank (24 assists, 10 digs), freshman Elizabeth Hamilton (11 digs) and freshman Gianna Esposito (14 digs, seven assists). 

The match was a point-by-point battle, as the Beacons claimed an 18-12 advantage in opening-set action on a kill by Fyda. The Wildcats scored three consecutive points, cutting the deficit to 18-15 on an ace by Frank. The Beacons eventually took the set, 25-22, on a game-clinching kill by Murphy. 

The Wildcats came out strong in the second set, as they opened up a 5-3 advantage on a kill by Coniglio. A kill by sophomore Rachel Maslach gave the Beacons a 10-9 lead, and then the Wildcats claimed a 13-10 advantage on a kill by Coniglio. The Beacons responded with a 5-0 run, as a kill by Fyda gave them a 15-13 lead. The Wildcats responded and evened the score, 16-16, on a kill by Coniglio. Murphy posted her second straight game-clinching kill, as the Beacons took the set, 25-22. 

The Beacons built an early 8-3 advantage in the third set on a kill by Murphy. The squad clinched its ticket to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 25-20 victory in the final set, as Shi registered the match-clinching kill. 

BY THE NUMBERS

  • Saturday's meeting marked the first between UMass Boston and Johnson & Wales since 2011
  • The Beacons advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013
  • Senior Pepper Baker (Tallahasse, Fla.) tallied 16 assists for the Beacons

WHO'S NEXT

The Beacons will face the host Jumbos tomorrow at 4 p.m. with a spot in Sunday's championship match on the line.

Information for this release provided by Tufts University Sports Information Department