Panthers come from behind to post key LEC victory
GORHAM, Maine – The Plymouth State University Panthers came all the way back from a two-set deficit to defeat the University of Southern Maine Huskies 3-2 (18-25, 17-25, 25-13, 25-19, 15-7) in a Little East Conference women's volleyball match Tuesday evening at the Warren Hill Gymnasium.
The win was the fifth straight for the Panthers, and clinched a spot in the LEC postseason tournament that begins next week. The Panthers improved to 20-6 overall and 3-3 in the conference. The Huskies slipped to 11-18 overall and 1-5 in conference play.
Junior Dani Tabor (Olympia, Wash.) led a balanced Plymouth State attack up front with 15 kills. Junior Kayla Wyland (Melrose, Mass.) added 14 kills, and sophomore Claire Sporer (Medford, Ore.) and junior Brianna Wojtas (Salem, N.H.) had 11 kills apiece. Senior setter Kirsten Perrotta (Hudson, N.H.) posted a double-double passing out 48 assists and digging up 10 balls. Sporer had a team-high 14 digs to also register a double-double.
For USM, sophomore outside hitter Jess Williamson (Goffstown, N.H.) led all players with 18 kills. Classmate Mo Raymond (Sanbornton, N.H.) added 11 kills. Junior Megan Nilson (Granby, Conn.) had a double-double with 24 assists and 15 digs. Rookie Nicole Schmitz (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham) passed out 18 kills and had five kills. Senior libero Demi Ruder (Clifton, Colo./Grand Junction Central) had 14 digs.
Playing some of their best volleyball of the season, the Huskies took the first two sets with Raymond knocking down seven kills and Williamson collecting six. Across the net, the Panthers were struggling to get their offense on track hitting for a .106 percentage (23-16-66).
Sparked by rookie Alisha Flanagan (Milton, N.H.), the Panthers rolled out to a big early lead in the third set en route to resounding win. The fourth set was nip and tuck with Flanagan providing three straight service aces at one point to swing the momentum to the visitors, and force the fifth and deciding set.
A PSU surge snapped a 4-4 tie and the Panthers went on to close out the set, and the match. Sporer, Wojtas and Wyland were key combining for 27 kills over the final three sets.
The Panthers finished the match hitting for a .290 percentage (62-22-138). The Huskies had a .197 percentage (46-18-142).
Southern Maine returns to the Hill Gymnasium on Saturday (1:00 p.m.) to host LEC foe Rhode Island College. Plymouth State will host a tri-match on Saturday (12:00 p.m.) facing LEC rival Eastern Connecticut State University and non-conference foe Colby-Sawyer College.
(Courtesy of Southern Maine Sports Information)
-- 30 --