Panthers to face Keene State (again) in semifinals
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Sophomore Casey Stoodley (Salem, N.H.) recorded her 16th double-double of the season Wednesday evening to lead third-seeded Plymouth State University to a 3-0 victory over sixth-seeded University of New England in the opening round of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Women’s Volleyball Tournament held at Foley Gymnasium.
PSU won by set scores of 25-15, 25-20, and 25-17. Stoodley finished with a match-high 11 kills along with 10 digs for the Panthers, while her sister, junior libero Danielle Stoodley (Salem, N.H.) contributed a team-high 13 digs. Junior setter Sarah Cady (Holliston, Mass.) directed the Panther offense and finished with 25 assists and a team-best three service aces.
The Panthers, 19-13 overall, advance to the semifinals on Saturday at top-seeded Endicott College, which swept eighth-seeded Daniel Webster on Wednesday. PSU will meet second-seeded Keene State College (25-12) in the second semifinal at 5:30 p.m., as KSC advanced with a 3-0 victory over seventh-seeded Worcester State. Endicott will face fourth-seeded Colby-Sawyer College (20-14) in the first semifinal at 3:30 p.m., and the championship match will be Saturday at Endicott at 7:30 p.m.
Senior Kristen Edwards (Laconia, N.H.) led the Nor’easters with five kills, while sophomores Lindsey Cashell (Merrimack, N.H.) and Paige Curran (Chelmsford, Mass.) and freshman Angie Brunette (North Andover, Mass.) added four apiece. Freshman Kirsta Adie (Tyngsboro, Mass./Bishop Guertin) made a match-high 24 digs for UNE, which completes the season at 20-12.
Plymouth State took an early lead in the first set, and pulled ahead by 10 points at 20-10 before trading points en route the 25-15 victory. The Panthers were comfortably ahead in the second set when the Nor’easters rallied, coming from behind to pull to within three points at 21-18. UNE held its ground, but PSU was too strong and pulled out the second set, 25-20.
The upset-minded visitors came out strong in the third set, determined to get back into the match. UNE pulled ahead 9-4, prompting a PSU timeout. The Nor’easters led 12-6 when Plymouth State rattled off eight unanswered points off the serve of freshman Kaitlyn Tedeschi (Pascoag, R.I.), taking a 14-12 lead. That rally seemed to take the wind out of the Nor’easters and they never recovered, and PSU went on to clinch the match with a 25-17 win.
Saturday’s semifinal against Keene State will be the third match of the season against the Owls and a repeat of last week’s Little East Conference Tournament, when second-seeded KSC and third-seeded PSU met on a neutral court. The Owls won the first two sets but couldn’t put the Panthers away until 15-13 in the fifth set, just as they did in a five-set victory over PSU during the regular season.
-- 30 –-