PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Despite playing third-seeded Tufts University tough in all three sets, #6 UMass Boston volleyball fell 3-0 in the first round of the NCAA Regional Tournament on Friday at Johnson & Wales University.
#3 Tufts 3, #6 UMass Boston 0
(UMass Boston 15-16)
(Tufts University 23-6)
HOW IT HAPPENED
In a rematch of last year's NCAA Regional Semifinals, the Beacons led or were tied in the final five points of each of the first two sets, but dropped both sets by identical 25-23 scores. Tufts finally created some breathing room in the third set-to earn a 25-19 set victory.
Chianco had a phenomenal showing against the Jumbos, as she posted a match-high 20 digs, to go along with three assists.
Offensively, Eileen Shi (San Francisco, Calif.) led the team with her 13 kills and also added five digs and one ace. Rachel Maslach (Berlin Center, Ohio) notched nine kills and a .500 hitting percentage, to go along with her eight assists and four digs.
Christina Elliott (Camas, Wash.) paced the Beacons with her 19 assists and recorded one of the team's two aces.
Mackenzie Bright and Maddie Stewart each chipped in with eight kills to lead a balanced Jumbos attack. Angela Yu and Rachel Furash tacked on 16 assists apiece, while Kelly Klimo registered a team-best 18 digs.
UMass Boston was able to stick with the higher-seeded Jumbos, despite struggling with their nerves and errors during the match.
Tufts jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first set on an ace and two Beacons' errors. The Beacons would record 10 of the next 15 points to take a 10-8 lead capped by a Tufts attack error. The Jumbos answered back with a 10-2 run to grab their largest lead of the set at 18-12.
UMass Boston wouldn't be deterred though, as the Beacons answered with a furious 11-2 flurry. Shi, Maslach, Gibbs and Emilia Czapiewska (Saint Paul, Minn.) all had kills during the run to push the Beacons out to a 23-20 lead. The Jumbos had one final answer though, as they used three kills and a pair of Beacons' attack errors to claim a 25-23 set win.
The second set saw UMass Boston bounce back with a great start to the set. The Beacons opened the set with a Sarah Doyle (Glendale, Calif.) kill and rushed out to their biggest lead of the day at 10-6. Tufts rolled off six-straight points to grab a 12-10 lead, but from that point neither side would lead by more than two points in the set.
Trailing 22-21, Elliott came up with a huge service ace to tie the set at 22-22. After a service error gave Tufts a sideout, Heather Holtz pushed Tufts' lead to 24-22 with a kill. Doyle cut the deficit back to one with a kill of her own, but one final service error gave Tufts the set win at 25-23.
UMass Boston roared out to another great start in the third set, with Shi and Maslach each recording two kills to spur an early 7-5 lead.
Tufts had an answer though, as they recorded seven of the next eight points to grab a 12-8 lead. UMass Boston would cut the deficit to two on three separate occasions, but that's as close as they would get in a 25-19 set loss.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Despite going 0-2 this year against the Jumbos, UMass Boston led in all six sets. The Jumbos improved to 9-6 all-time against the Beacons with the win.
- With the loss, UMass Boston falls to 13-8 all-time in eight NCAA Tournament appearances.
- Shi finishes her junior season in eight-place in program history with her 408 kills in a single year. She is just the fourth player to reach the 400-kill mark in one season, joining Shannon Thompson ('12), Kate McWhorter ('09) and Laurel Smith ('02). Shi's 1,040 attack attempts marked the fourth-most for a Beacon in a single-season.
- The Beacons finished the match with 35 errors, including nine receiving errors.
- Chianco's 589 digs stand as the fourth-most digs in a single-season. The only player with more digs in a single year was All-American Elizabeth Glavan ('16) who accomplished the feat three times. Chianco is only the third player to finish a season averaging more than five digs per set (5.08).
- Doyle finished the season tied for third in a single year with her 110 blocks. Former teammate Julia Murphy ('16) is the only Beacon to have posted more than Doyle's 110 blocks.
UMass Boston will return all but two players for the 2018 season.