SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. - The Plymouth State University women's volleyball team split a pair of matches Saturday afternoon at the second annual Little East Conference (LEC) / New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Challenge at the Mildred Howard Gymnasium.
The Panthers were upset by Smith College in five sets in the first match of the day, suffering just their second loss of the season. PSU rebounded with a three-set sweep of host Mount Holyoke College. Fellow LEC rival Keene State College defeated both Smith and Mount Holyoke.
Plymouth State, ranked eighth in New England, is now 24-2 on the season. KSC is now 12-15 while Smith is 6-13 and Mount Holyoke falls to 4-16.
Smith jumped out to a 2-0 lead against PSU before the Panthers came back to take the third and fourth sets. The Pioneers then rebounded with a 15-12 victory in the fifth and deciding set.
Senior Bethany Weiss (Windham, N.H.) piled up 22 kills, five digs, five blocks and three service aces for Smith. The Pioneers also received solid production from junior Lauren Martinez (Phoenix, Ariz.), who delivered 29 assists, 13 digs and five service aces. Senior Mikal Minarich (Hobart, Ind.) registered 12 kills and 20 digs, while classmate Brianne Connizzo (Demarest, N.J.) chipped in with 25 digs.
Plymouth State was paced by senior Brianna Kleckner (Terryville, Conn.), who dished out 41 assists. Classmate Carly Newton (Centerville, Mass.) amassed 17 kills and three blocks, while sophomore Meghan Sullivan (Marlton, N.J.) recorded a double-double with16 kills and 20 digs. Sophomore Alex Avery (Milton, N.H.) pitched in with 29 digs. PSU's top hitter, senior Eliza Badeau (Foster, R.I.) did not play in the match.
Plymouth State came back with a 3-0 (25-8, 25-14, 25-19) triumph over Mount Holyoke. Kleckner, who is among the national leaders in assists, notched 32 assists and 13 digs. Newton tallied 15 kills, and Avery added 16 digs.
The Panthers return home to host Middlebury on Wednesday for Senior Night at Foley Gymnasium (6:00 p.m.). The Panthers are 8-0 at home this season.
(Courtesy of Mount Holyoke Sports Information)
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