WILLIAMSTOWN -- Traditionally, the volleyball spotlight falls on women who register the most kills.
Sunday afternoon in Chandler Gym, a defensive specialist not only stepped into the spotlight for UMass Boston, but libero Elizabeth Glavan was named the MVP of the NCAA Division III Williamstown Regional that the Beacons won with a four-set victory over the hosts.
"It’s really nice to be honored, but I’m not focused on the award. I’m just trying to do my job on the court," the freshman from Edina, Minn. said. "With the people around me, a lot of the seniors really help me on defense. They’re all there supporting me and helping me out."
The Ephs beat the Beacons in the first set but lost three straight to have the match closed out 19-25, 25-16, 25-20, 25-16. The Ephs closed to 22-16 in the fourth set, but a block by Julia Murphy gave the Beacons the final point and the match victory.
"This one’s a tough one. Anytime you get into postseason play, there are a lot of things that can happen," said Williams coach Christi Kelsey. "I have to give a lot of credit to UMass Boston. They played incredibly well for the last three days.
"There are always things, as a coach, you wish your team could do a little differently. But I’m trying to tell my players and myself to keep this all in perspective. We’ve had an incredible year."
As have the Beacons, who now advance to the Division III quarterfinals this weekend at Hope College in Holland, Mich.
How good of a defensive performance was it for the Beacons? It seemed like every time a Williams hitter like Tori Jasuta or Emily Doll got to the net for a spike, there was a UMass Boston player hitting it right back.
Williams was averaging more than 13 kills per set, but on Sunday, they had only 8.7 kills per set. The Beacons, meanwhile averaged 15.3 digs per set and finished up with a 20-per-set average.
"I think we do focus a lot on defense as a team. We kind of focus on never giving up," Glavan said. "We’re all willing to go to the floor and dive, and dive into the stands or into the chairs in order to get the ball up."
Williams won the first set thanks to an 8-2 run midway through. It was really the only time Williams put any kind of a run together.
UMass Boston put together a 9-2 run to take a lead in the second set it would not give up. The Beacons used a similar run, 7-2 after the set was tied at 7, to take the lead for keeps in the third.
"They got a lot of balls up. They were very scrappy and defended us well," said Emily Doll. "Yeah, it was totally frustrating, but it happens. You have to keep coming back at them."
Williams was in the same position Saturday, down 2-1 to Springfield, but rallied to win. On Sunday, the Ephs got a block by Doll on a shot by Corinne Porter to tie the set at 4. At the same time, NESCAC player of the year Tori Jasuta went down in pain with an apparent elbow injury.
While Jasuta went to the trainer’s room for treatment, the Beacons outscored the Ephs 8-3 to take a 12-6 lead. Williams never got close again and the Beacons scored the last three points to win the match and the regional title.
Jasuta and Doll led Williams with 9 kills each, while Ryan Farley had 29 assists and Doll had 13 digs. Farley and Jasuta made the All-Tournament team, along with the Beacons’ Kirsten Morrison.
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