Panthers advance to semifinals at Coast Guard
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Sophomores Allie Jones and Kaitlyn Tedeschi and junior Casey Stoodley all reached double figures in kills Wednesday evening as second-seeded Plymouth State University knocked off seventh-seeded Western New England University, 3-1, in the opening round of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Women's Volleyball Tournament at Foley Gymnasium.
Jones finished with a team-high 12 kills and four service aces, while Tedeschi and Stoodley added 11 kills apiece as PSU won by scores of 25-22, 21-25, 25-20, 25-22. The Panthers advance to Saturday's semifinals at top-seeded U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. PSU will meet third-seeded Endicott College in the second semifinal at 2:00 p.m., following the match between Coast Guard vs. fourth-seeded Keene State College at 11:00 a.m. The two semifinal winners will meet for the championship Saturday at 5:00 p.m.
Sophomore Maureen Pollet paced the attack for the visitors, finishing with a match-high 14 kills. Sophomore Tyler Singh contributed eight kills with only one attack error and freshman Grace Kucharski posted a team-high 23 digs.
The first set started out close, with the teams going back and forth. WNE held a slim 9-8 lead when PSU got hot, scoring eight of the next nine points to open up a 16-10 margin. PSU led 22-14 when the Golden Bears made a big comeback, rattling off seven straight points on the serve of Kucharski, but the Panthers held off the charge as Jones smashed three kills to give PSU the first set, 25-22.
PSU had control of the second set, leading 14-7, when the Golden Bears came alive. Kucharski had a couple of aces and Pollet made several kills as WNE went on an 11-5 run to cut the deficit to 19-18. A Panther timeout slowed the Golden Bears momentarily, but they closed out the set with seven unanswered points, including two kills by Pollet and three aces by freshman Val Smith to even the match at one set apiece.
Plymouth State took charge of the third set and led most of the way. The Panthers were up 11-5 when WNE called its first timeout and 19-12 for the second. PSU went on to take the pivotal third set, 25-20.
The upset-minded Golden Bears played tough in the fourth set, giving PSU all it could handle. WNE had several one- and two-point leads but the Panthers would not be denied. Trailing 21-18, PSU rallied with three straight points to tie the score, all on kills by Stoodley, and then closed out the match with four straight points, the last one a kill by Tedeschi.
-- 30 –