PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Senior co-captains Eliza Badeau (Foster, R.I.) and Brianna Kleckner (Terryville, Conn.) proved too strong Wednesday evening as top-seeded and defending champion Plymouth State University defeated eighth-seeded Emmanuel College, 3-0, in the first round of the ECAC Division III New England women's volleyball tournament at Foley Gymnasium.
Badeau recorded a match-high 18 kills and a .451 attack percentage, while Kleckner registered 36 set assists and a team-high six service aces to lead the Panther attack. PSU swept the match by set scores of 25-16, 25-15, and 25-21 to improve to 9-1 at home this season.
The Panthers, 31-5 overall, advance to the ECAC semifinals on Saturday, which will be held at Plymouth State. PSU will meet fourth-seeded Western New England College (27-9) Saturday at 12 noon in the first semifinal. The championship match will take place Saturday at 5:00 p.m. at Foley Gym. WNEC advanced to the semifinals with a 3-1 victory over fifth-seeded Endicott College on Wednesday evening.
The other semifinal will have third-seeded Coast Guard (26-5) meeting seventh-seeded Colby-Sawyer College (20-13) Saturday at 2:00 p.m. Coast Guard downed sixth-seeded Johnson & Wales University Wednesday, 3-1, while Colby-Sawyer upset second-seeded Brandeis, 3-2.
Plymouth State also got seven kills from sophomore Meghan Sullivan (Marlton, N.J.) and six from senior Carly Newton (Centerville, Mass.) against Emmanuel, while sophomore Elissa Morin (Nashua, N.H./South) added four kills and four aces. Sophomore Alex Avery (Milton, N.H.) and junior Kelsey Petty (Salem, N.H.) anchored the defense with 17 and 15 kills, respectively.
Emmanuel, which was making its first ECAC post-season appearance since falling to Plymouth State in 2003, gave a strong effort in the losing cause. Junior Megan Murray (Killingworth, Conn.) led the Saints with a double-double of 10 kills and 12 digs, both team highs, while sophomore Jenna Ross (Centerburg, Ohio) added seven kills.
Saturday's semifinal matchup between PSU and WNEC will be the second meeting this season between the two schools. The Panthers edged the Golden Bears, 3-2, in the Tom Hay Invitational last month at Springfield College, winning 15-11 in the fifth and decisive set.
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