Women’s volleyball dominant in return

The+womens+volleyball+team+was+dominant+in+their+first+match+of+the+season.+

Photo: Murphy Robey / Beacon Correspondent

The women’s volleyball team was dominant in their first match of the season.

By Tyler Foy, Assistant Sports Editor

The women’s volleyball team dominated the University of Massachusetts Boston in their return to the court, winning 3-0 in their first game since the 2019 New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Championship.

Once the players stepped on the court for their pregame warmups the energy in the Bobbi Brown and Steven Plofker Gym skyrocketed. After the national anthem boomed through the gym, the starting lineups were announced and the much-anticipated 2021 season was finally ready to get underway. 

The first point of the team’s season was scored on a kill by senior outside hitter Carolyn Vaimoso which was assisted by junior setter Caroline Bond. Vaimoso said she was glad to take the stress off of other players.

“It feels good to have the responsibility to alleviate the pressure for everybody,” Vaimoso said in a post-game interview. “It’s a weird season coming back from COVID because it feels new even if it isn’t, but I’m glad to get [the first score] out of the way.”

The first set started as a back and forth battle for the lead. Through 20 plays the score was knotted up at 10. The Lions would soon find momentum scoring in 10 of 14 of the following plays to push the score to 20-13 and a seven-point advantage. The first set ended in favor of the Lions 25-17.

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In the second set, the Lions pulled ahead to a six-point lead of 20-14. UMass stormed back, pushing the Lions to the brink with the score at 24-23.  With just one more point to secure to seal his team’s victory in the set, head coach Ben Read called a timeout. 

“I think Carolyn didn’t need a timeout because she did a little jab,” Read said in a post-game interview. “It wasn’t for us because usually after a timeout they miss the serve. There’s a lot of questioning when you go back there for a minute and a half. We got a good pass and got the point.”

After the timeout, the Lions scored the next point on a misplay by UMass Boston — sealing their victory at 25-23. Moving into the third set, the team carried all the momentum. First-year outside hitter Parker Cummings had five kills, one assist, and four digs in her first game. She ended up scoring the winning point to seal the squad’s 25-17 victory in the third set — and the game as a whole. Cummings said she was able to set her nerves aside for the first game of the season. 

“I was so nervous,” she said in a post-game interview. “But I love playing and I love being out here so it came back naturally like riding a bike.”

Only Emerson community members were allowed to attend the game — but members of the team said they were just excited to get back out on the court. 

“It feels like a fever dream,” she said. “I took last year off so it was nice to see new faces, as well as some old faces. I was nervous thinking that no one was gonna come but seeing the benches full is so nice.”

Away teams will likely struggle under the current restrictions barring their fans from attending games at Emerson, Read said. 

“I feel a bit bad for the visitors,” he said. “We’re trying to only allow Emerson students and staff so I mean it really is a pro-Emerson hub which we should have at home.”

Vaimoso said the game reaffirmed her belief in the depth of this year’s team. 

“Everyone is an all-around good player,” Vaimoso said. “Coach can put in anyone on the bench inside the court and they’re going to make a huge impact. Whether it’s defensively or offensively everyone’s good on our team and everyone knows that.”

Cummings said she felt she had established herself after the first game, and was excited to build off her strong performance. 

I just want to figure out a baseline and then only go up from there,” she said. “We’re a pretty solid team, and I think we can get a lot better.”

Coach Read said that the team still has room to improve—despite the shutout performance.

“I told the team, I do think as individuals or as a team we didn’t play our cleanest volleyball,” he said. “But we still got a W, so it’s nice that you can learn about yourself, as individuals and as a team, while still getting the win. We made adjustments we did improve throughout, and there’s a whole other level of play we can go to.”

The women’s volleyball team followed this performance with consecutive home shutouts on Saturday against the University of Maine at Presque Isle and Simmons. They have yet to lose a single set through three matches.