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PSU Volleyball advances in ECAC Tournament

CAMBRIDGE, MASS. - Plymouth State University and the United States Coast Guard Academy swept its way to the semifinals of the 2003 ECAC Division III New England Women's Volleyball Championships Friday night with 3-0 victories at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Third-seeded Plymouth State cruised past No. 6 Emmanuel College in the nightcap after fifth-seeded Coast Guard had upended fellow NEWMAC-rival and fourth-seeded Wellesley College.

Friday's first round action set the stage for Saturday's semifinals inside MIT's Rockwell Cage. The first match of the day at 10:00 a.m. features Coast Guard (25-8) vying for its second straight upset versus the top-seed Engineers of MIT (26-7). The second semifinal pits Plymouth State (29-7) against No. 2 Brandeis University (26-14). By advancing past the opening round, Coast Guard maintains its bid for a second straight ECAC title after sowing up the North Championship last season.

Plymouth State closed out its 29th win of the campaign backed by an enormous defensive effort by senior co-captain Sonia Trudell (Somersworth, N.H.), who's 18 digs and five blocks rendered the Saints' attack ineffective. With game scores of 30-16, 30-27, 30-23, Plymouth State handed Emmanuel (28-5) only its fifth loss of the season to advance. Senior Carin LaValley (Northfield, N.H.) sparked the Panther offense with 11 kills, while sophomore Kelly Landry (Nashua, N.H.) also enjoyed a strong effort with nine kills.

Coast Guard advanced after sweeping Wellesley with game scores of 31-29, 30-25 and 30-23. Junior Tracy Speelhoffer paced the Bears' effort over the Wellesley Blue with a team-high 13 kills, 11 digs and four aces. Sophomore Mary Arvidson added 11 kills to the attack, while freshmen Alissa Dunklau and Christine Rostowfske split the setting duties, dishing out 16 and 15 assists, respectively.

(Courtesy of MIT Sports Information)

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