North Reading High School graduate (Class of 2011) Kirsten Morrison was recently named the Little East Conference's Rookie of the Week for UMass-Boston's womens volleyball team.
"It was an honor to be chosen as rookie of the week but I just want to keep focusing on getting better because it's all about teamwork," said Morrison, an Exercise Health Sciences major. "It's motivating me to push myself harder."
Morrison helped to lead the Beacons to a 4-2 record in the first week of her collegiate career, leading the team in hitting percentage. "My coach is really pushing me to be the best player I can be."
She added that blocking and hitting are the best aspects of her game right now but she sees room for improvement. "I want to improve drastically from when I started here to the end of the season and get my jump serve to hit sports."
The 18th-ranked Beacons are the defending Little East Conference and New England Regional champions, but lost in the national tournament to champion Calvin. Moving to such a successful program has not fazed the freshman, whose athletic career at North Reading met with frequent success. The Hornets won the Cape Ann League her first three seasons, and were also the State Champions in 2007 and state runners-up in 2008. During her senior year, the team moved up to Division II and lost in the semifinals to Melrose.
For her first collegiate game experience, the team traveled to Honolulu for the Hawaii Invitational.
"It was an amazing experience to play in Hawaii. I've never been there and to play the University of Hilo (Division II) as our first two games was a good tough competition. The matches really showed us what we needed to work on to be prepared for our season."
Morrison has high expectations for the Beacons. "I expect the team to win the LEC and NE Regional champs and go far in nationals."
"[The] collegiate game is different from high school because the competition is higher along with skill level," said Morrison. "There are definitely higher expectations from every player on the team, and they continue to increase the more we win."
Morrison also intends to play basketball for the Beacons in the winter, and has goals of attending graduate school for Physical Therapy.