Volleyball hopes to finish season strong

UMass Boston’s women's volleyball team huddles after scoring a point against Emerson College on Oct. 27, 2022.

Though they had some struggles during the course of the 2022 season, UMass Boston’s volleyball team has been on the right track over the past couple of weeks. Their recent four game skid was not an accurate reflection of their skills on the court, as they still sported a 4–5 record over their last nine. The string of games included a three game winning streak against Wheaton College, Rhode Island College and Roger Williams University, which helped begin the month of October with a bang. Nonetheless, the Beacons look to get back in the win column for the final two games of the season, after a disappointing 3–1 loss to Emerson last Thursday. 

Volleyball’s season was one that had a tale of two teams: One of those teams was a playoff candidate that played well at home, with a respectable 5–7 record. The other team? Well, as said before: It was a tale of two teams. Their struggle to win on the road and in conference games caused the Beacons’ record to plummet to 6–17, after beginning the season 2–12. Their third win against Wheaton on Sept. 30 saw the Beacons snap an eight game losing streak, with the latter seven finishing by a score of 3–0 (1). And if anything, their win against Wheaton gave them the confidence they needed to finish the season strong, despite the setbacks and hardships they had prior. 

With one game remaining in the season, the Beacons hope to finish strong against Castleton on the road in what can be a sort of exorcism of the demons that helps instill confidence going into next season. Castleton has had a dreadful season of their own, priding themselves with a 5–19 record and an 0–7 record in conference games (2), not something to write home about⸺or maybe it is, for all the wrong reasons. Either way, the Beacons have a golden opportunity to take advantage of the Spartans’ poor play and move onto the offseason, while ending on a high note. The Beacons would also accomplish a rare feat that would bear witness to an army of lighthouses defeating an army of Greek warriors, but come to think of it, that’s a pretty common occurrence now, isn’t it?

The Beacons’ wins against Wheaton, Rhode Island and Roger Williams were crucial and clearly helped create a morale boost for the team. After upping the ante that ultimately propelled them past their losses, the Beacons saw themselves playing the best volleyball of their season, and were not looking back either. Had they began playing more consistently in the beginning of the season, who knows if their record could have turned out for the better. 

The lackluster play against conference opponents, as well as their performances on the road and competing as the visiting team, took a toll on their record and, unfortunately, turned out to be their kryptonite. Out of the eight losses in their winning streak, four of them came on the road, all of which were shutout losses. Conference play during that eight game span saw the same result; all three of their conference games, which came against Eastern Connecticut State, Plymouth State and Southern Maine, resulted in 3–0 losses. It was not until their game against Rhode Island College that handed the team their first conference win of the season, which also happened to be their only shutout win of the year, a notable bright spot to take out of the season the Beacon’s had. 

The Beacons’ volleyball team had an underwhelming season to say the least, but it was also a strange one that saw the Beacons flip a switch at Clark Athletic Center, compared to playing on the road and enduring devastating defeats that slowly but surely creeped up in the loss column. The best course of action for the Beacons is to emphasize the strategy of adapting to opposing crowds or intense competition by practicing more, especially after sitting on a bus for an extended period of time had cost the team in the long run. The bottom line is that the past cannot change, but it’s how the team can rise above and learn from the past that helps them benefit from the gut wrenching experience of defeat, while also feeding the motivation to play better next season. If anything, the perfect opportunity to implement this method would be to kick off that strategy in order to adapt to, and level with, the intensity of playing on the road when they play their final game against Castleton. 

 

1. 2022 Women's Volleyball Schedule - UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

2. 2022 Women's Volleyball Cumulative Statistics - Castleton University (castletonsports.com)

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