PSU Volleyball stuns UMass Boston for second straight year

Panthers upset LEC leaders on Senior Night

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Senior Casey Stoodley (Salem, N.H.) smashed a match-high 21 kills Tuesday evening as the Plymouth State University women's volleyball team rallied from two sets down to stun three-time defending Little East Conference champion University of Massachusetts Boston, 3-2, in a dramatic match on Senior Night at Foley Gymnasium.

            The Beacons were in control for the first two sets, taking early leads and holding on for 25-19 and 25-18 victories.  PSU would not go down without a fight and battled back to take the next two sets, 25-21 and 25-23.  The fifth and decisive set could have gone either way, but the Panthers would not be denied, rallying from an 11-9 deficit to pull out a 15-12 victory.

  Seniors Stoodley and Morin

            The outcome marked the second straight season that PSU has upset UMB in the regular season.  The Panthers swept the Beacons in Boston a year ago during the regular season, although UMB came back to defeat PSU in the LEC Championship match.

            Plymouth State improves to 14-16 overall this season and 3-3 in conference matches, while UMB is now 15-8 and 6-1.  The Beacons lead LEC runner-up Western Connecticut State University by a half-game, while PSU moves into a tie for fourth place with Eastern Connecticut State University.

            The match turned around late in the third set.  Down two sets and trailing 20-14 in the third, PSU rattled off nine unanswered points on the serving of Stoodley.  UMB stopped the streak, but PSU won the next two points to take the set, with the winning point coming on a block by senior Elissa Morin (Nashua, N.H.).  The fourth set was a see-saw battle, with neither team leading by more than two points.  It was tied at 18-all when PSU went on a run and again finished off the set on a block and a kill by Morin.

            The fifth set was close the entire way.  UMB pulled ahead 8-7 as the teams switched sides, and went up 11-9 on kills by senior Shannon Thompson (Moorpark, Cali.) and freshman Briana Sousa (Swansea, Mass.).  PSU called timeout, and came out of the huddle on a mission, winning six of the next seven points to capture the victory.  Stoodley had two kills and an ace in the rally, and freshman Sam Clark (Coventry, R.I.) and sophomore Becca Gosselin (Bedford, N.H.) also had key kills for the Panthers.

            Stoodley added 13 digs to her 21 kills for the evening, reaching double figures in both categories for the 19th time this season, while Morin finished with five kills and three blocks.  Clark chipped in with 12 kills and Gosselin added eight.  Freshman setter Kirsten Perrotta (Hudson, N.H.) played an outstanding match, finishing with 46 assists and a team-high four service aces, and junior Cassie Pelton (Brookline, N.H.) recorded a team-high 14 digs.

            Thompson, the two-time LEC Offensive Player of the Year, led the Beacons with 17 kills and four aces, while sophomore Kirsten Morrison (North Reading, Mass.) added 11 winners.  Senior Kayla Wilson (San Jose, Calif.) collected a team-high 14 digs, and the Beacons registered 11 team blocks, including four block assists each by Sousa, Morrison and junior Corrine Porter (Huntington Beach, Calif.).  Freshman Emma Rocha (Boynton Beach, Fla.) and junior Megan Pollock (Wilton, Calif.) split the setting duties, with Rocha recording 30 assists and Pollock 16.

            The Panthers wrap up the regular season on Saturday at Rhode Island College with matches against the Anchorwomen as well as Worcester State.  UMB concludes the regular season Friday and Saturday at the Emory University National Invitational in Atlanta. 

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