Nov. 12, 2009

LEXINGTON, KY - University of Massachusetts Boston Head Women's Volleyball Coach Terry Condon (Rowley, MA) has been named the Division III New England Region Coach of the Year by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, while Kate McWhorter (Bakersfield, CA) and Shannon Thompson (Moorpark, CA) were each named to the AVCA Division III New England All-Region team, it was announced by the AVCA today. Thompson was also selected as the New England Region Freshman of the Year.

McWhorter and Thompson become the first teammates from a Little East Conference school to earn All-Region honors since 1999 when Eastern Connecticut State University outside hitter Jennifer Butts and setter Michelle Cunningham were named.

Condon becomes the first volleyball coach in school history to earn the region's top coaching honor and the second among UMass Boston coaches with Head Men's Basketball Coach Charlie Titus receiving the region's highest coaching award following the 2005-06 campaign. Condon has directed the Beacons to their best season in school history with a 30-4 record, including a current school-record 17-match win streak. UMass Boston posted a perfect 7-0 record in LEC play, without dropping a set during the regular season and went on to win the school's first-ever LEC Tournament crown to earn the Beacons an NCAA Tournament appearance for the first time in school annals. UMass Boston defeated Westfield State College, 3-1, on November 12 to win its first NCAA Tournament opening round contest for any team in any sport in school history. The team has broken school standards for wins (30), kills (1,460), assists (1,342), block assists (230) and hitting percentage with a .321 mark, which leads the nation as well. During her tenure with the Beacons, she has increased the strength of her scheduled opponents and her team has met the challenge this season. UMass Boston is currently ranked second in the latest NCAA Division III New England Women's Volleyball poll and stood as the number one squad in the NCAA Division III New England Women's Volleyball Association poll for the first three weeks of the season. The team has also received votes on four occasions in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division III National Weekly Polls with nine, seven, 10 and six votes, respectively from September 15 to October 6. Condon has compiled a 95-55 (.633) record in five seasons with the Beacons after the program was 39-87 in the five seasons prior to her arrival. She has directed UMass Boston to four straight winning campaigns for the first time in school history, including a gaudy 55-13 (.809) mark of the past two seasons, which has seen the Beacons make back-to-back appearances in the LEC Tournament Championship match. A brilliant recruiter, she has had three of her players named LEC Rookie of the Year in the past four seasons, while seeing nine of her players named to the All-Conference squad, including a pair of Offensive Player of the Year selections and three All-Region honorees. Including two seasons at Division I California State University Bakersfield and six at Texas A&M University, the former UCLA All-American has guided four of her teams to the NCAA Tournament and amassed a 287-168 (.631) career record.

McWhorter lands on the All-Region squad for the second straight year, having earned Honorable Mention accolades last year and is the only volleyball player in school history to be named All-Region twice. The senior also becomes the first LEC player to receive the distinction since 2006 when Emma Sousa of Eastern Connecticut was tabbed and the first LEC outside hitter since Western Connecticut State University's Lindsey Gloster was named in 2003. This is McWhorter's second honor in less than a week after being selected the Little East Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight year, earlier in the week. She is just the third player in LEC history to earn the award multiple times. The outside hitter was also tabbed to the LEC First Team last year and becomes the first player in school history to receive first team accolades twice. A Stockdale High School (CA) product, McWhorter has started all 34 matches, while missing just one of 118 sets on the year for the most matches played and second-most sets played in school history. A three-time Offensive Player of the Week honoree in 2009, she ranks second in the Little East Conference with 3.98 kills and 4.64 points per set, while standing third with a .393 hitting percentage. The 5'9" hitter has been a force from behind the serving line as well with 0.46 aces to place sixth among LEC leaders. She ranks second on the team with 2.59 digs per set and fourth with 0.31 total blocks. Her season has been nothing short of spectacular and is already one of the best for any player in school history with 466 kills for the third-most ever for the Beacons, while becoming the first player in school annals to post 400-plus kills in two different years. Her hitting percentage is easily the most efficient in school annals. Reliability has been her trademark as one of UMass Boston's best all-around players with double-digit kills in all but six matches, including 20-plus in three outings and notched her 1,000 career kill in a 3-0 win over Keene State College on September 26. She has hit no lower than .135 in any match this year, including 12 matches with a .500-or-better clip. The senior absolutely dominated a stretch of six matches with a scorching .591 hitting mark from September 12-26, where she committed just seven errors in 110 swings. Her serve has also been an effective weapon with at least one ace in 26 of 34 matches, including two or more on 13 occasions and a career-high of six at University of Southern Maine on October 8. McWhorter has been outstanding defensively as well with 10 or more digs in 17 matches and two or more total blocks nine times. Her play has not gone unnoticed with a spot on the Brandeis Invitational All-Tournament team on September 12 and an MIT Quad-Meet Most Valuable Player selection on October 17. She often rises to the occasion in the team's biggest matches or when the Beacons need something extra as evidenced by her Most Outstanding Player award for her performance in the Little East Conference Tournament where she recorded double-doubles of 16 kills and 13 digs in three sets vs. Rhode Island College in the semifinals on November 6 and 18 kills, including 14 in the final two sets, and 13 digs in UMass Boston's 3-1 victory over Plymouth State University to capture its first-ever Little East Conference championship on November 7.

McWhorter played her first two seasons for NCAA Division I California State University Bakersfield, before transferring to UMass Boston last season. She became the first player in school history to not only earn AVCA All-New England Region Honorable Mention honors last year, but also LEC Offensive Player of the Year accolades. McWhorter broke the Beacons' standard for kills in a season with 493 and shattered the hitting percentage record with a mark of .364, before bettering the figure this year. She senior, who has been named the LEC Offensive Player of the Week seven times in her career, has played in 369 sets over 109 matches, while spiking for 1,263 kills and owning a .320 hitting mark. She split time as a hitter and setter her freshman season and has compiled 333 assists, 721 digs, 112 aces and 132 total blocks for her career. In just 67 career matches and 226 sets at UMass Boston, McWhorter already places second on the career kills list with 959, fifth with 62 block assists, seventh with 569 digs, ninth with 97 aces and is the all-time leader with a .378 hitting percentage.

Thompson becomes the first freshman in school and LEC history to be named All-Region and is one of just 10 freshmen in the nation to earn the distinction. As the Region's Freshman of the Year, being the top newcomer isn't new for Thompson after becoming the fourth player in school history to be selected the LEC Rookie of the Year and the third in four seasons. Her selection marked just the second time in league history that the top rookie has come from the same school two straight seasons. The freshman proved week in and week out that she was the top rookie with a conference-high seven Rookie of the Week awards in nine weeks. The middle hitter becomes just the second freshman in school annals to earn a spot on the LEC First Team, following in the footsteps of teammate Kate White (Plymouth, MA), who earned the honor in 2006. Thompson has been one of the LEC's top players, leading the league with 0.72 aces per set, while ranking third with 4.54 points, fourth with 3.40 kills per set and fifth with a .342 hitting percentage. The 6'2" hitter is the only player for UMass Boston to have played in all 118 sets over 34 matches to break the school record for set played and tie the school standard for matches played. She also stands third for UMass Boston with 0.62 total blocks and 2.51 digs per set. Her season is already stacking up as one of the best by any player in school history with 401 kills for the fourth-most ever and the most ever by a freshman, while her hitting mark is the third-most efficient in school annals. Her total of 47 block assists and 85 aces also puts her fifth on the all-time Beacons' single-season list. Consistency has been a hallmark of her game in her first year of collegiate volleyball with at least one ace in 31 of 34 matches, including a streak of 15 straight from September 4-29 and a string of 16 consecutive matches from October 8 to November 7 that saw her average a commanding 1.00 aces per set with 53 over 53 frames. She has fired no less than three aces in nine of her last 14 outings. She has also racked up 10 or more kills in 24 of 34 matches for the season, including a season-high of 24 in the Little East Conference title match vs. Plymouth State on November 7. The Moorpark High School graduate began her career by averaging 16 kills in each of her first four matches to earn a spot on the Pacific Coast Classic All-Tournament Team. She's been an extremely efficient hitter, match in and match out, with a positive hitting percentage in every outing and has posted a mark of at least .200 in every match but six thus far, including a three matches of .750 or above. Thompson has shown off her defensive prowess as well with at least one block in all but eight matches and has scooped up at least five digs on 28 occasions, including a career-high of 21 vs. Westfield State College in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on November 12.

UMass Boston is enjoying its best season ever and will meet Williams College in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, November 13 at 4:30 p.m. at Cousens Gymnasium on the campus of Tufts University in Medford, MA.