Nov. 12, 2010

* Courtesy of UMass-Boston Athletics

SPRINGFIELD, MA - Sophomore middle hitter Shannon Thompson (Moorpark, CA) recorded a double-double on 12 digs and 11 kills to power the University of Massachusetts Boston volleyball team past Maine Maritime Academy, 3-0 (25-13, 25-11, 25-14), Friday afternoon in opening round play of the 2010 NCAA Division III women's volleyball tournament at Blake Arena on the campus of Springfield College. The Beacons, who received 39 votes and are ranked 24th in the country in the most recent Division III American Volleyball Coaches Association national poll, improve to 28-4 on the year and advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive season. The loss drops the Mariners to 18-10, ending the North Athletic Conference champion's season.

UMass Boston was in total control in the opening set as sophomore setter Frana Burtness-Adams (Fairbanks, AK) gave the Beacons an 11-6 lead following an ace that forced Maine Maritime to take a timeout. UMass Boston continued to push, increasing its lead to 18-9 before the Mariners used their second timeout to stop the bleeding. Junior setter Cassy Hannemena (Denver, CO) answered with another ace right out of the timeout to crush any hopes of a late set rally as the Beacons took the opening frame, 25-13, to take a 1-0 lead in the match. The Mariners jumped ahead to an early 5-4 lead in the second set, taking advantage of four UMass Boston hitting errors. The Beacons were able to work out the kinks and secure a 12-7 margin following three consecutive points off of Thompson's service, forcing Maine Maritime to call a timeout. After the timeout, the Beacons pushed their lead to 14-7 behind a Thompson ace. Junior middle hitter Molly Rattigan (Dorchester, MA) slammed home a kill to make it 20-8, UMass Boston, forcing the Mariners to use another timeout. Thompson made sure the Beacons closed out the set strong, registering the final three points on a kill and then consecutive solo blocks to give the home squad the 25-11 win. UMass Boston came out equally as strong in the third set, jumping ahead to a 4-0 lead fueled by a block by freshman outside hitter Corrine Porter (Huntington Beach, CA), a kill by sophomore middle hitter Alexa Sullivan (South Dennis, MA) and an ace by Hanneman. Sophomore setter Jennifer Dixon (Woodstock, MD) cut the lead in half, making it 4-2 with an ace of her own before the Beacons extended the lead to 7-2 following back-to-back aces by sophomore libero Bethany Rossoll (Colorado Springs, CO). The Mariners rolled off five consecutive points to even the score at 7-7 behind the service of junior libero Lauren Sakahara (Bellevue, WA) but a solo block by Sullivan put UMass Boston back ahead, 8-7, a lead they would not relinquish in the match. Thompson and freshman outside hitter Amber Clemons (Simi Valley, CA) combined on a block assist to make it 15-8, forcing the visitors to take a timeout but it was too little too late. Porter put the match away with two straight kills to make it 23-14 before two Mariner hitting errors ended the match, giving UMass Boston the 25-14 win en route to the 3-0 match score.

Porter finished the match with 11 kills to tie Thompson for the game-high while Clemons and Rattigan chipped in with seven and six kills each, respectively. Rossoll recorded a match-high 14 digs including eight in the first set while Hanneman ended the game with match-highs in assists with 19 and aces with three. Burtness-Adams contributed with 17 assists and three digs in the win.

For Maine Maritime, junior outside hitter Chelsea Ward (Homer, AK) paced the offensive effort with a team-high seven kills to go along with four digs. Sakahara ended the match with a team-high nine digs while Dixon recorded 11 assists, four digs and an ace in a solid all-around performance.

UMass Boston advances to the second round of the NCAA tournament for only the second time in program history. They will face Middlebury College tomorrow, Saturday, November 13 at 3:30 p.m. at Blake Arena. In last year's round of 32, the Beacons fell to Williams College, 3-1.