PLYMOUTH, N.H. – For the sixth straight year volleyball has closed out the Little East Conference regular season as the top team and overall number-one seed as they shutout Plymouth State University 3-0Tuesday evening.
The victory earned the Beacons their second straight and fourth overall 7-0 record in conference play. UMass will host the semi-final and championship round of the Little East Conference tournament next Saturday and Sunday in the Clark Athletic Center Gymnasium. Start times for those matches will be announced later this week by the conference office.
Thursday’s win improved the Beacons record to 20-7, making it the seventh straight 20-win season for UMass. The Panthers fell to 12-17, 2-4 in the conference. They will be competing in next week’s tournament as the sixth-seed and will travel to the third-seed on Tuesday.
For the most part the Beacons controlled Tuesday’s match from start to finish. They managed to overcome a hiccup on the second, and held off a late push by the Panthers in the third to earn the shutout victory. In the first set it was all UMass as they came out firing to earn a 25-18 win. In the second, they overcame a cold spell to take a 25-21 decision. In the deciding set, UMass hit a combined .265 to earn the 25-18 win.
Senior Kirsten Morrison (North Reading, Mass.) and sophomore Patsy Boland (Chicago, Ill.) each scored a match-high nine kills. Morrison finished second in the match with a .471 hitting percentage. Junior Blair Boyer (Encinitas, Calif.) led the contest with an impressive .500 hitting percentage as she scored six kills on 12 attempts, without an error.
Pepper Baker (Tallahassee, Fla.) anchored the Beacons offense with 29 assists, and also had four of UMass’ 10 aces. Defensively UMass was strong at the net totaling eight block assists, while sophomore libero Elizabeth Glavan (Edina, Minn.) finished with 13 digs.
Also having a strong match was sophomore hitter Julia Murphy (Canton, Mass.). Murphy scored seven kills and had one block assists and two aces to help the Beacons to the 3-0 victory.
Volleyball will travel to Atlanta, Georgia later this week to play in the Emory University Invitational. On day one of the tournament they will face Washington and Lee University at 2 p.m. followed by a 7 p.m.match with Emory. On day two they will face Berry College (Ga.) at 3:30 p.m.