Panthers stay in hunt in LEC race
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University women's volleyball team posted a pair of 3-0 victories Saturday afternoon at Foley Gymnasium, defeating Eastern Connecticut State University in a Little East Conference match and coming back with a non-conference triumph over the University of New England.
PSU, 19-9 overall, stayed in the thick of the Little East race, downing Eastern to improve to 4-1 in conference play. UNE knocked off Eastern Conn., 3-2, in the middle match of the day, winning 15-12 in the decisive fifth set. Eastern finishes the day at 16-9 overall and 1-4 in the Little East, while UNE is now 14-12 overall.
It was the Stoodley sisters again leading the way for the Panthers. Junior hitter Casey Stoodley hit 10 kills and two services aces in the LEC win over Eastern Conn., and shared team-high honors with seven kills against UNE. Senior libero Danielle Stoodley contributed a team-high 21 digs against Eastern and 12 vs. UNE, while added six service aces on the afternoon.
Eastern Conn. gave PSU a tough battle in the opening match. The first set was tight with upset-minded ECSU holding a slim 21-19 advantage late. PSU was able to tie things up at 22-apiece after a kill by Casey Stoodley and then Danielle wrapped up the set by serving out the final three points.
PSU jumped to a 7-3 lead in the second set and extended its advantage to 12-6 on a kill by Casey Stoodley. Eastern came roaring back, taking an 18-17 lead on consecutive service aces by Erynn Miller. PSU sophomore Kaitlyn Tedeschi gave the home team a brief 22-21 lead, but ECSU was able to even the score at 24. The Panthers grabbed control of the match by scoring the final two points, one on a kill by junior Elissa Morin.
The Panthers broke open a close third set after Casey Stoodley put down an emphatic kill to give her squad a 9-8 lead. PSU would never look back, getting good net play from freshman Jana Neiman and coasting to a 25-17 win.
Plymouth State cruised to an easy 25-15 win in the first set of the final match against UNE. Casey Stoodley set the tone for the Panthers with a huge kill on the second point of the game and then she served out seven straight points from the service line to give PSU a lead they would not relinquish.
In the best set of the match, UNE found some energy and raced out to a 9-3 advantage. PSU battled back, though, and took a 17-16 lead after a kill by sophomore Allie Jones. The Panthers outscored UNE 7-2 down the stretch to take a 2-0 lead in the match. UNE ran out of gas in the third set as PSU eased its way to a 25-15 win. The Panthers got solid play from sophomore Shannen Vaughn and senior Meghan Sullivan in the win.
PSU plays a pivotal conference match Tuesday at LEC-leading UMass Boston. A UMB win would all but clinch a third-straight LEC regular season title for the Beacons, while a Panther victory would likely create a three-way tie atop the standing with PSU, UMB and Keene State, all with one conference loss.
(Courtesy of Scott Miller)
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