New-look Panthers aiming to contend in the Little East
|Head Coach Moira Long|
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University women’s volleyball team will begin its 15th year of varsity competition in 2010, beginning next weekend (Sept. 4-5) with a season-opening trip to Norwich University in Northfield, Vt., and Colby-Sawyer College in New London, N.H.
The Panthers will make their debut on Saturday, Sept. 4, at Norwich, facing the host Cadets at 12 noon and following with a match at 2:00 p.m. against Plattsburgh State (N.Y.) PSU will stop at Colby-Sawyer on the way home Sunday for matches against the University of Minnesota-Morris at 1:00 p.m. and the host Chargers at 3:00 p.m.
Plymouth State travels to Beverly, Mass., next weekend, Sept. 10-11, for the Endicott College Invitational, before the home opener at Foley Gymnasium on Tuesday, Sept. 14, against St. Michael’s College.
The first of seven Little East Conference matches is set for Saturday, Sept. 18 at Western Connecticut State University. The regular season goes through the end of October, with the annual conference tournament the first week in November. The LEC Tournament champion receives an automatic bid to the Division III NCAA Tournament.
PSU is seeking its first LEC championship since 2004.
2010 PSU Women’s Volleyball Outlook
The Panthers are coming off an outstanding 2009 season that included trips to the LEC and ECAC New England Tournament championship matches and a final record of 32-6, setting a program standard for victories.
The Panthers lost five seniors from last year’s squad, including two all-conference players and an all-New England middle hitter, but head coach Moira Long says the Panthers are ready to pick up from where the last team left off.
“I’m excited about this year’s team,” says Long, who has a career record of 282-142 in 12 seasons. “This is a new year and we will be a different team with a different look. We have so many offensive weapons; we’re much more balanced than in previous years. We’re deeper than we’ve ever been.”
Long welcomes back six veterans to this year’s team, who are joined by eight newcomers, including a pair of transfers. The coach is confident the team will contend for the top of the Little East.
“They’ve already jelled together,” says Long. “They’re very athletic and solid all-around volleyball players. We expect to serve tough and pass the ball, and good things come from that.”
Junior Meghan Sullivan (Marlton, N.J./Cherokee) is the top returning hitter after averaging 2.50 kills per set last season. Classmate Elissa Morin (Nashua, N.H./Nashua North) also has experience, and Long says several of the newcomers will be solid contributors, including freshman Allie Jones (Canton, Mass.) and sophomore transfer Casey Stoodley (Salem, N.H.), who previously played at Southern New Hampshire University.
The Panthers have always been strong on defense and passing and this year should be no exception. Junior Alex Avery (Milton, N.H./Nute) had a solid campaign last year in her first season as libero, and senior Kelsey Petty (Salem, N.H.) is also a returning veteran. Junior transfer Danielle Stoodley (Salem, N.H.), who came via Rivier College, could also help out or could contribute as a setter, and junior Sarah Cady (Holliston, Mass.) could also see time at setter if she can stay healthy.
“We also have a great freshman class,” says Long. “We knew coming in that they would be strong, and they’ve been even stronger than expected. I think we should have another good team and another great season.”
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