Women's volleyball team given option to not play

by Carl Setterlund / Beacon Staff • November 14, 2013

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Women's volleyball coach Ben Read during opening introductions against Wheaton College, his former school, on Oct. 8.
Women's volleyball coach Ben Read during opening introductions against Wheaton College, his former school, on Oct. 8.

Emerson women’s volleyball head coach Ben Read said prior to the Lions’ Wednesday night postseason match at Salve Regina that he was hoping for a different result the second time against the Seahawks, who beat Emerson in four sets on the second day of its 2013 season.

It wasn’t fated to be though, as host Salve Regina swept the Lions, 3-0, in the opening round of the Eastern College Athletic Conference Division 3 New England Championship, an eight-team tournament Emerson applied to enter in lieu of making the NCAA Division 3 Tournament.

Emerson, which lost by close set scores of 25-22, 25-23 and 25-18, received the bottom seed and was playing with only 10 of the team’s 18 players against the top-seeded Seahawks.

“I talked to the team after our [regular] season and told them there was a possibility of going on to the ECACs,” Read said. “It had been a tough season for some people due to injuries and other things, and we just wanted to make sure that the people that we had competing with us were all on the same page and they wanted to be there and wanted to compete.”

Sophomore outside hitter Katie Towey said that notification actually came via email and that Read told the team it was okay if they didn’t want to take part in the postseason.

According to Read, several players scheduled Wednesday night classes, creating an academic conflict. Read said most New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference matches take place on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Emerson had not played on a Wednesday all season.

Junior outside hitter Kat Rice, who finished third on the team with 200 kills, said she did not take part because she works on Wednesday nights and wanted to focus on applying for internships.

The other players who chose not to participate include star sophomore setter Juliana Tucker, junior Alex Lynn, sophomores Heather Park, Katie Towey and Bri Velez, and freshmen Annie Hall and Kate Gibson. Lynn and Park both played a significant roles this past season.

According to Rice, both she and Lynn both applied to Emerson’s semester-long Los Angeles Program for the Fall 2014 semester. 

Rice, the 2011 Great Northeast Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year, said she is leaning toward not returning for her senior season, even if she doesn’t get into the LA Program.

Towey was diagnosed with a concussion during the preseason and said she has more recently been sick. She said she supported the 10 players who did compete against Salve Regina (26-4).

“For some reason this season was just kind of long,” Towey said. “I just kind of wanted to focus more on my schoolwork because I’d been out for so long.”

The shorthanded Lions (15-13) actually led most of the way during the first and second sets, but struggled to close out. Emerson had a 22-19 lead in set one before dropping the final six points. They had similar trouble in set two, leading 22-18, and then losing seven of eight points.

Senior Alyssa Thorne registered 10 kills to lead the team, while classmates Brandy Eggermann and Jamie Morgan, both defensive specialists, also played a prominent role.

“Any chance we get to go ahead and continue our season and get in the postseason and play more volleyball we’re obviously thrilled with,” Read told the Beacon on Wednesday afternoon.