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Volleyball splits pair: falls to Western Conn., defeats Lasell

Panthers edged by Colonials in close LEC opener

            DANBURY, Conn. – The Plymouth State University women's volleyball team split a pair of matches Saturday afternoon, falling to Western Connecticut State University in the Little East Conference opener, 3-0, then coming back to defeat Lasell College in a non-conference match, 3-0, at WCSU's Feldman Arena.

            The PSU-WestConn match was closer than the set scores indicate, as the host Colonials pulled out a 27-25, 26-24, 25-18 verdict.  PSU was picked second and Western third in the LEC preseason poll.  The Panthers then cruised to a 25-19, 25-16, 25-23 decision over Lasell in the nightcap.  PSU is now 3-7 overall and 0-1 in the LEC, while WCSU is 5-5 and 1-0 and Lasell falls to 0-10.

            The scoring in the PSU-WCSU match remained close early in game one until the Panthers broke an 11-11 tie with a run of three points.  The Panthers extended that margin to 18-14 before Western went on a 6-2 run to tie the score at 20.  A kill by the Colonials pushed the scoring to game-point, but when the Colonials' next serve sailed long, the gamed headed to overtime.  After the teams traded points, Western took the game's final two points for a 27-25 win.

            After another tightly contested opening to game two, Western broke another 11-11 tie with an 8-0 run to open a seemingly commanding lead at 19-11.  PSU senior Casey Stoodley (Salem, N.H.) found her hitting rhythm however, and the Panthers fought back to even the score at 23-23.  With Western up 24-23, another Stoodley kill pushed game two into overtime, but a Western side-out and a service ace by junior Rachel Volpe (Southington, Conn.) gave the Colonials a 2-0 lead in the match.

            Western jumped out to an early 6-3 lead In game three, and maintained that lead until two kills and a block by Wojtkiewicz pushed the Colonial advantage to 22-14.  The Panthers narrowed the margin, but Western closed out the match with a 25-18 game-three win.

            Sophomore Nina Wojtkiewicz (Griswold, Conn.) and senior Paxton Thornton (Sharon, Conn) each recorded 11 kills for Western, followed by junior Melanie Lombardi (Danbury, Conn.) with nine.  Sophomore Jennifer Hogan (Franklin Square, N.Y.) handed out 33 assists to lead the Colonials, while Thornton also led in digs with nine.

            Stoodley led all players with 23 kills and 15 digs for PSU, while freshman Kirsten Perrotta (Hudson, NH) recorded 40 assists and junior Cassie Pelton (Brookline, NH) led the defense with 21 digs.

            Stoodley continues her powerful hitting against Lasell with 16 kills and a .371 attack percentage.  Senior Elissa Morin (Nashua, N.H.) added eight kills and junior Kaitlyn Tedeschi (Pascoag, R.I./Burrillville) and freshman Sam Clark (Coventry, R.I.) chipped in with six kills each.

            The Panthers are back in action Tuesday with an in-state match at Rivier University (8:00 p.m.) 

(Courtesy of Western Connecticut Sports Information) 

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