PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Plymouth State College will be the third seed this weekend when the annual Little East Conference Tournament is held in Danbury, Conn., on the campus of Western Connecticut State University.
PSC will meet sixth-seeded Southern Maine at 8 p.m. in a quarterfinal match Friday (Nov. 5) at WCSU. The winner will face the survivor of the match between second-seeded Eastern Connecticut and seventh seeded Keene State in a semi-final contest Saturday at 11:30 a.m. The championship match is slated for 3:30 p.m. Saturday, with the champion receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.
The Panthers, in their fourth season as a varsity program, have had another strong season under second-year head coach Moira Long. PSC has posted a 21-10 overall record and a 4-3 mark in LEC matches, and owns winning streaks of 10 and seven matches.
In the regular season match between PSC and USM, the Panthers pulled out a come-from-behind victory over the Huskies, 3-2. Plymouth State won the opening game of the match 15-11, but fell behind when Southern Maine won the next two 15-13 and 15-10. Not to be denied, PSC rebounded to win the final two games 15-6 and 15-13.
If the Panthers are able to defeat the Huskies again, it will be another tough challenge in the semifinals against a team that PSC lost to earlier this season. Both Keene State and Eastern Connecticut registered 3-1 victories over PSC, the KSC match coming on Sept. 11th and the ECSU battle on Oct. 23rd.
Top-seeded Western Connecticut is the tourney favorite, having put together a 7-0 LEC regular season and a 17-9 overall record. Eastern Connecticut (13-18, 6-1) is the four-time defending champion, sweeping Western Connecticut in the 1998 championship match.
Plymouth State is led by powerful freshman outside hitter Carin LaValley (Northfield, NH) and senior outside hitters Jill Langis (Farmington, NH) and Veronica Mulholland (Billerica, Mass.). LaValley, a two-time LEC Player of the Week, leads the team and is among the LEC leaders in kills (3.30/game), service aces (0.66/game), digs (3.52/game) and hitting percentage (.275). Langis is among the conference leaders in aces (0.56/game) and digs (3.99/game), and Mulholland is ranked third in the nation in Division III in digs (5.87/game).
The Panthers will play their final regular season match on Thursday (Nov. 4) at New Hampshire College (7 p.m.).
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