Panthers swept by LEC regular season champs
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Senior Kirsten Morrison (North Reading, Mass.) and sophomore Patsy Boland (Chicago, Ill.) smashed nine kills apiece Tuesday evening to lead the University of Massachusetts Boston to a 3-0 win over Plymouth State University in a Little East Conference women's volleyball match at Foley Gymnasium.
The Beacons won by sets scores of 25-18, 25-21 and 25-18. The victory clinches the LEC regular season title for the Beacons (20-7 overall, 7-0 LEC), and the top seed in next week's Little East Tournament. UMB has won or shared the last six LEC regular season crowns, and finished 7-0 in the Little East in four of those six years. PSU (12-17 overall, 2-4 LEC) has one conference match remaining on Saturday.
UMB needed a rally to win the first set, as PSU pulled out to a 10-7 lead. The Beacons recorded six of the next seven points to take a 13-11 advantage, and later rattled off five straight points behind the hitting of Morrison to go up 19-14. The visitors went on to the 25-18 decision.
It was PSU that had to come from behind in the second set after UMD won the first six points, including a pair of kills by Bolard and two aces by sophomore setter Pepper Baker (Tallahassee, Fla.). The home team battled back and took the lead, 15-13, thanks to some strong net play by junior Michelle Davis (Hampton, N.H.) PSU had a 19-17 advantage when UMB erupted for five straight points to take the lead for good, and went on to the 25-21 verdict.
The Beacons put together a streak in the middle of the third set to take control, turning a 10-9 score into a 19-12 advantage. Kills by junior Bri Sousa (Swansea, Mass.) and Bolard closed out the match.
Morrison hit at a .471 clip (9-1-17) for the Beacons while Boland (9-3-21) finished with a .286 attack percentage. The Beacons also got seven kills from sophomore Julia Murphy (Canton, Mass.) and six from junior Blair Boyer (Encinitas, Calif.). Baker had a team-high four aces and 29 assists, and sophomore Elisabeth Glavan (Edina, Minn.) collected a team-best 13 digs.
Sophomore Brianna Wojtas (Salem, N.H.) led the Panthers with seven kills and a .538 attack percentage (7-0-13). Davis finished with six kills, her second-highest output this season.
PSU recognized its only senior Jana Nieman (Fair Lawn, N.J.) prior to the match.
Both teams wrap up the regular season this Saturday in Danbury, Conn., against Little East foe Western Connecticut State University as well as Lehman College. The Beacons conclude their slate this weekend in Atlanta at the Emory University Invitational.
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