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Coast Guard upsets PSU Volleyball in ECAC Final

(Semifinal Box Score)  (Championship Box Score

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Third-seeded Coast Guard Academy upset top-seeded Plymouth State University Saturday afternoon to capture the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Women's Volleyball Tournament championship in four sets at PSU's Foley Gymnasium.

            The Bears captured their third ECAC Championship this decade, following the ones they earned in 2002 and 2005.  Coast Guard, which also defeated seventh-seeded Colby-Sawyer College in Saturday's semifinal, completes the season with a 28-5 overall record.  Defending champion Plymouth State, which set a program record for victories this season, including a win over fourth-seeded Western New England College in Saturday's first semifinal, winds up the campaign with a 32-6 mark.

            Coast Guard took the first two sets by narrow margins, 25-22 and 25-20.  Plymouth State took over the momentum and won the third set, 25-22, but the Bears pulled out the match by outlasting PSU in a very close fourth set, 26-24.

            Freshman Lauren Bloch (Centennial, Colo.) led the Bears and was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.  She posted a pair of double-doubles on Saturday, recording 19 kills and 17 digs in the semifinal win over Colby-Sawyer and following that up with 14 kills and 21 digs in the championship match.  Freshman setter Karen Matic (Oswego, Ill.) also had a strong afternoon, finishing with 47 assists and 15 digs against CSC and adding almost identical numbers, 45 assists and 16 digs, in the victory over PSU.

            Coast Guard also got double-digit kills from sophomore Nicole Johnson (New Braunfels, Texas) with 19 and freshman Katherine Walker (Dearborn Heights, Mich.) with 12.    Junior Jessica Anderson (Kalamazoo, Mich.) led the defense with a match-high 30 digs.

            Senior Eliza Badeau (Foster, R.I.) led PSU with another terrific performance for the Panthers.  She made a team-high 21 kills in the semifinal win over WNEC, and finished with a career-high 29 kills against Coast Guard in the final match of her collegiate career.  She concludes her career as PSU's all-time leader in both blocks and kills.

            Senior setter Brianna Kleckner (Terryville, Conn.) also wrapped up her career for PSU, registering 50 assists in the semifinal win over WNEC and adding 46 sets against Coast Guard. Kleckner, PSU's all-time assist leader, also had 16 digs and a team-high four service aces in the championship match.

            Coast Guard came out strong, winning the first seven points of the match to take the early lead.  PSU got to within four points, but the Bears pulled away to a 16-9 advantage and went on to win the set 25-22 despite a late rally by the home team.

            PSU took a 4-0 lead to open the second set, but Coast Guard responded with nine unanswered points to take a 9-4 advantage.  Coast Guard's largest lead was 14-6, but Plymouth State battled back to pull to within one point, 17-16.  The Bears got four unanswered points late in the set to pull out a 25-20 decision.

            The third set went back and forth, with ties at 10-10, 14-14 and 15-15.  PSU rattled off five straight points on the serve of sophomore Meghan Sullivan (Marlton, N.J.), only to see Coast Guard come back to even the score at 22-22.  PSU was determined, and won the next three points for a 25-22 win in the third set.

            The fourth set was even closer, with neither team leading by more than a point until Coast Guard went ahead, 21-17. PSU got to within a point at 23-22, but the Bears were able to pull out the win in set four to claim the championship.

            Photo Cutline:  PSU co-captains Eliza Badeau (12) and Brianna Kleckner accept the ECAC Runner-up Trophy from PSU Provost Julie Bernier (left), PSU President Sara Jayne Steen (second from right) and ECAC Director of Operations Pat Colbert (right).


PSU Volleyball downs WNEC in ECAC Tournament semifinal

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Top-seeded Plymouth State University advanced to the championship match of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Women's Volleyball Tournament Saturday afternoon with a 3-1 victory over fourth-seeded Western New England College in the first semifinal match at Foley Gymnasium.

            The Panthers won the first two sets, 25-15 and 25-16, but WNEC came back to take the third set, 25-18.  PSU got some early momentum in the fourth set and never let the Golden Bears to get back in it, winning 25-12 to take the match in four sets.  Plymouth State improves its record to 32-5, increasing its program record for victories in a season, while WNEC concludes its season at 27-10.

            Senior Eliza Badeau (Foster, R.I.) and sophomore Meghan Sullivan (Marlton, N.J.) both had big performances for the Panthers.  Badeau knocked down 21 kills with a .529 attack percentage and Sullivan had 18 kills and a .351 percentage.  Senior Carly Newton (Centerville, Mass.) also contributed nine kills, while sophomore Alex Avery (Milton, N.H.) and junior Kelsey Petty (Salem, N.H.) topped the defense with 18 and 10 digs, respectively.  Senior setter Brianna Kleckner (Terryville, Conn.) finished with 50 assists.

            Senior Rachel Cervone (West Springfield, Mass.) led the Golden Bears with a double-double, recording a team-high 14 kills and 10 digs.  Junior Samantha Shomo (Glen Gardner, N.J.) contributed eight kills, while junior Marci Egbert (Wayne, N.J.) made a team-high 12 digs.  Junior Katharina Boes (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) added nine digs and 29 assists.

            It was a see-saw battle in the first set until PSU went on a little run to pull ahead 12-8.  After a WNEC timeout, the Panthers extended the margin to 21-12 before pulling out the set 25-15.  Badeau recorded seven kills in the first set, including the first one which gave her the PSU career kills mark; she now has 1,712 career kills.

            PSU took an early lead in the second set, but WNEC hung tough the whole way.  The Golden Bears were within two points at 15-13 before PSU caught fire and pulled away to a 25-16 decision.  PSU took an early 5-0 lead in the third game but WNEC didn't go quietly and battled back to tie the set at 7-7.  The Golden Bears took the lead for good at 12-9 and forced two Panther timeouts, using the momentum to take the third set 25-18. Cervone and Shomo each had four kills in the set.

            Plymouth State took command early in the fourth set, taking leads of 8-2 and 11-3.  WNEC stayed close, pulling to within 11-7 and 14-9, but the Panthers proved too much and pulled away to the 25-12 decision to close out the match.

            The Panthers are seeking their second straight ECAC title.  Third-seeded PSU upset top-seeded Colby-Sawyer College last year to capture the championship.   

Coast Guard defeats Colby-Sawyer in ECAC Volleyball semifinal

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Third-seeded U.S. Coast Guard Academy overcame a first-set loss to defeat seventh-seeded Colby-Sawyer College Saturday afternoon, 3-1 in the second semifinal of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Women's Volleyball Tournament at Plymouth State University's Foley Gymnasium.

            The Bears, 27-5, advance to the championship match at 5:00 p.m. against top-seeded and defending champion Plymouth State, 32-5.  Colby-Sawyer, which lost to Plymouth State in last year's ECAC title match, completes this season at 20-14.

            Freshman Lauren Bloch (Centennial, Colo.) led the Bears with a double-double of 19 kills and 17 digs, while classmate Catherine Walker (Dearborn Heights, Mich.) also reached double digits with 11 kills.  Junior libero Jessica Anderson (Kalamazoo, Mich.) topped the team with 30 digs, and freshman setter Karen Matic (Oswego, Ill.) recorded 15 digs and 47 set assists.

            Juniors Michelle Doody (Franklin, Mass.) and Stef Turner (Boxborough, Mass.) has solid performances in a losing cause for Colby-Sawyer.  Doody made a team-high 20 kills along with 12 digs while Turner added 15 kills. Seniors Mickey LaPan (Medway, Mass.) and Shelagh Costello (Canton, Mass.) both posted a team-high 16 digs, and senior Genny Moore (Centerville, Mass.) finished with 47 assists.

            The upset-minded Chargers, who knocked off second-seeded Brandeis in Wednesday's first-round match, played well to take the first set over Coast Guard, 25-22.  The Bears rebounded to even the match with a 25-17 decision in the second set.

            Coast Guard took the lead in the third set but Colby-Sawyer hung tough.  The Bears pulled out the third set, 25-21, and then put the match away with a 25-19 decision in the fourth set.

            The Bears are seeking their first ECAC Championship since winning it all in 2005.  Coast Guard also won an ECAC title in 2002. 

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