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PSU Volleyball nipped by Keene in dramatic LEC semifinal

Owls outlast Panthers 16-14 in fifth set

            BOSTON – Third-seeded Plymouth State University made several dramatic comebacks Saturday afternoon before suffering a tough 3-2 loss to second-seeded Keene State College in a semifinal match at the Little East Conference Women's Volleyball Championship, hosted by the University of Massachusetts Boston.

            The Panthers rallied from down two sets, and staged a comeback in the fifth set after falling behind by seven points.  Keene State (20-12) dominated the first two sets, 25-10 and 25-9, before PSU rebounded to take the next two, 25-16 and 25-21.  After falling behind 10-3 in the decisive set, PSU (17-16) tied the set at 12-all and again at 14-all before Keene State pulled out the dramatic victory, 16-14.

            Keene State would control the fifth set early-on, but just like before the Panthers would not lie down and die.  They would claw their way back and actually take the lead following a kill by junior Jana Nieman (Fair Lawn, N.J.) to make it 13-12 in favor of the Green and Black. The two squads eventually ended up tied at 14-14, and the Owls would clinch the victory and a spot in the championship for the second straight season on a Cat Kazazian kill.

            Sophomore setter Kirsten Perrotta (Hudson, N.H.) distributed the ball well as the Panthers had a balanced attack with three players in double figures for kills.  Nieman posted a team-high 11 winners while senior Kaitlyn Tedeschi (Pascoag, R.I.) and freshman Mikki Taffe (Sandown, N.H.) added 10 apiece. Tedeschi and Nieman were also outstanding on the defensive side, posting eight and six blocks, respectively.

            Senior libero Cassie Pelton (Brookline, N.H.) led the back-row players with 22 digs while freshman Katie Sylvia (Lee, N.H.) added 15 digs and Perrotta 11.

            The Owls will face top-seeded UMass Boston in Sunday's championship match at 12 noon.  The Panthers will hope for an ECAC post-season berth, which will be announced on Monday.

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