BOSTON, Mass. – Led by Eileen Shi's (San Francisco, Calif.) match-high 20 kills, and Macayla Chianco's (Clearwater, Fla.) 30 digs, the top-seeded Beacons of UMass Boston secured a spot in the Little East Conference Championship match, as they earned a 3-1 win over Plymouth State University Thursday evening in the Clark Athletic Center Gymnasium in the semi-final round of the conference tournament.
#1 UMass Boston 3, #4 Plymouth State University 1
UMass Boston (14-15)
Plymouth State University (19-11)
HOW IT HAPPENED
With Thursday's win the Beacons will face the second-seeded Owls of Keene State College on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Clark Gymnasium for the LEC title. The winner of Saturday's contest will earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
The Beacons had to battle through some adversity in Thursday's semi-final match, as the Panthers came back fighting after dropping a 25-20 win in the first set. The Beacons offense, which hit over .200 in the opening frame, was held to just a .087 clip in the second, as they watched the Panthers pullout a 25-21 win. The beginning of the third set was also rough for the Beacons, as Plymouth State continued to play aggressively. It was not until the midway point of the frame that UMass took their first lead of the third. However, the Panthers would claw their way back to earn a 18-15 lead, before UMB called their second timeout.
That timeout gave the Beacons the momentum swing they needed as they outscored the Panthers 10-2 to secure a 25-20 win and take a 2-1 lead overall. The fourth set was all Beacons from start to finish as they hit a match-high .273 to secure a 25-17 win.
Not only did Shi have a big night for the Beacons, but Sarah Doyle (Glendale, Calif.) also emerged as she threw-down a career-high 10 kills in LEC Tournament play. At the night the 6-2 middle was red-hot as she put down three solo blocks, and one block assist. Rachel Maslach (Berlin Center, Ohio) continued her tremendous consistent play as she registered eight kills for a .368 hitting percentage. She also had 17 assists, and put-up a pair of digs.
Chianco's defensive showing was also a career-high for the senior libero in the LEC Tournament. The Florida native was impressive all night, and had three of the Beacons six aces. Off the bench Christina Elliott (Camas, Wash.) made a huge impact in the later frames as she registered a strong 11 assists.
Carsen Komminsk (Westerville, Ohio) also came in to give the Beacons some valuable minutes as she tallied 17 assists.
For the Panthers Claire Sporer finished with a team-high nine kills, while Megan Baileyn tallied 25 assists and 10 digs. Brenna Peruch finished with 20 digs and also had 30 service receptions.
BY THE NUMBERS
- All-time UMass Boston is now even with Plymouth State at 13 wins a-piece
- The Beacons improved to 4-2 all-time against the Panthers in LEC Tournament play
- Shi's 20 kill performance marked the second time this season that the junior All-American has recorded 20 or more putdowns in a match
- Chianco's 30 digs stands as the second most the Florida native has recorded this season
- The Beacons hit .211 on the night, while the Panthers hit just .088
- In total the score was tied 21 times, while there were 12 lead changes
- Saturday's meeting will mark the sixth time that the Beacons will face the Owls for the LEC title in the last nine seasons
The Beacons will host Keene State on Saturday at 1 p.m.