BOSTON, Mass.--One of the most outstanding seasons in the history of volleyball at Keene State College came to an end with a 3-0 (19-25, 15-25, 24-26) loss to UMass Boston in the championship game of the Little East Conference tournament at Clark Athletic Gym on Saturday.
- Keene State: 24-6
- UMass Boston: 15-15
How it Happened
Keene State, which was playing the final for the seventh time, was seekings its first title since 2008. Olivia Mathieu led the way with seven kills, while Bailey Wilson had 18 assists and Kait West had 11 digs. Riley Bunker and Rachel Lamica each had 10 digs. The Owls struggled at the net, hitting -.110 for the match.
The Beacons jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the first set, but the Owls got back within two on a UMB serving error. Wilson and Niamh Dodd combined for a block on Eileen Shi to get the Owls within 12-8, and back-to-back errors from the Beacons made it a two point match at 16-14. The Beacons went on a 7-1 run to take a 23-15 lead, and the Owls could not get closer than five the rest of the way.
UMass Boston kept the strong play up to open the second set, taking an early 7-1 lead. Lamica served up an ace to get Keene State back within 8-5, but the Beacons took a 15-6 lead on a kill by Rachel Maslach. The UMass Boston lead grew to 23-8 before the Owls responded with a 7-1 run to close to within 24-15 before the Beacons closed it out.
The Beacons then looked to close out the match by taking a 9-3 lead, but the Owls clawed back, getting to within 12-8 on a kill by Dodd. Another kill by Jennifer Severino cut the lead to two and Lamica's kill tied it at 15. Keene State kept up the momentum, going up 20-16 on a pair of UMB errors. A kill from Kelly Hunt gave the Owls a 23-20 lead, and Bunker's kill gave the Owls set point at 24-22, but the Beacons fought off set point twice, tying the match on a Keene State error and taking the next two points to close out the match.
- The loss draws the curtain on the career of Keene State's senior outside hitter Rachel Lamica. Lamica ends her career as one of the most outstanding offensive players in program history, totalling up 1,299 kills, fourth all-time in school history, while her career hitting percentage of .222 is seventh all-time. She also holds two of the top 10 single season kill marks, with her 393 in 2016 good for sixth all-time, and her 456 this season are third. She also ranks among KSC's all-time and single season leaders in attack attempts.
- Also moving up the record books was junior Riley Bunker, who completed the season with 1,448 career digs, passing Genna Florkowski for second all-time. She heads into her senior season trailing Sarah Peterson, who had 1,883 digs from 2004-08. Bunker will need 436 digs next year to break the record.
- Bailey Wilson also put her name in the record books, finishing the season with 937 assists, which puts her ninth all-time after just one year. Those 937 assists also the eighth best all-time single season mark.
- The Owls see their season end.
- UMass Boston will find out who and where they are to play when the NCAA selections are announced on Monday.