Panthers leapfrog Owls into second place in LEC
KEENE, N.H. – The Plymouth State University women's volleyball team registered a key Little East Conference victory over Keene State College Wednesday evening at Spaulding Gym, overcoming a loss in the first set to pull out a 3-1 victory.
The home team took the first set, 25-21, but PSU took the next three sets in order, 25-23, 27-25, and 25-20. The Panthers jumped ahead of Keene State into second place in the LEC with a 4-1 league record (16-10 overall), while the Owls drop to 4-2 in the LEC, 16-9 overall.
It was the first win for the Panthers at Keene in LEC play since 2009. The win also puts the Panthers in the driver's seat for the No. 2 seed in the upcoming LEC tournament. A win for Keene State in the final LEC contest of the year against Eastern Connecticut will give the Owls the No. 3 seed.
Spaulding Gymnasium, at Keene, N.H. – Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016
Plymouth State 3, Keene State 1 (21-25, 25-23, 27-25, 25-20)
PSU 16-10 (4-1 LEC); Keene State 16-9 (4-2 LEC)
* Junior Claire Sporer (Medford, Ore.) led the Panthers with a season-high 18 kills, while seniors Dani Tabor (Seattle, Wash.) and Mikki Taffe (Sandown, N.H.) chipped in with 13 and 10 kills, respectively.
* Taffe had a team-high .474 attack percentage (10-1-19) and a team-best three blocks.
* Sporer hit at a .259 clip (18-4-54) while also recording 10 digs for her sixth double-double of the season.
* Sophomore setter Megan Bailey (Canterbury, N.H.) recorded 46 assists, matching a season-high for a four-set match.
* Keene State was led by 14 kills from Rachel Lamica, while Kat Carrel hit .375 with 11 kills and Courtney Collins added 10.
* Taylor Bright was one of four Owls with double-digit digs, leading the way with 21, while Riley Bunker had 20, Katie Cunningham had 16 and Leslie Hearns had 11. Cunningham had 39 assists.
* Collins and Carrel also led the way at the net on defense, with the former having two solo blocks and three block assists, and the latter having two solo blocks and another block assist. Lamica and Hannah Szymanski each had three block assists, and Lamica also had a solo block.
Set One Highlights
- Keene State took an early 4-1 lead through the serving of Leslie Hearns, and after the Panthers went back in front 6-5, Lamica and Szymanski combined for a block that tied the set at six apiece.
- Brooke Hatanaka and Courtney Collins had a kill on either side of an error by Kayla Wyland (Melrose, Mass.) that made it 12-8, and the Owls increased the lead to 19-15 on another kll by Hatanaka.
- A kill from Brianna Wojtas (Salem, N.H.) pulled the Panthers within 24-21, but Lamica powered down a kill to give the Owls the set.
Set Two Highlights
- Keene State again jumped out to a fast lead, as Cunningham served up an ace for a 6-2 advantage.
- After Cunningham set up Carrel for a 12-10 lead, Carrel and Szymanski teamed up to block Tabor that increased the lead to 17-13.
- Back to back kills from Szymanski gave the Owls a 21-14 lead, but the Panthers got back within four on three straight Keene State errors.
- That set off a comeback for Plymouth State, who finished the set on an 8-4 run to tie the match.
Set Three Highlights
- The Owls and Panthers traded points in the early going, but KSC scored four straight points for a 13-9 lead on the strength of kills from Carrel and Lamica.
- Lamica served up an ace for a 16-10 advantage, only to see the Panthers score six straight points to tie the set, with Sporer having three kills in that stretch. Keene State went back in front 21-19 as the Panthers committed three errors in a row
- Wojtas' kill gave the Panthers set point at 24-23, but Szymanski forced extra points with a kill. Plymouth State again went to set point with a kill from Sporer, only to see Olivia Mathieu tie the set again with another kill.
- Sporer returned the Panthers to set point with a kill, and Bailey ended the set with an ace.
Set Four Highlights
- Keene State's strong starts continued, taking a 7-2 lead with four early kills from Lamica.
- A kill from Taffe tied the set at seven, and the Panthers took a 14-12 lead on a KSC error.
- Plymouth State slowly pulled away, going up 20-15 on another KSC error, and the Owls could not get closer than three the rest of the way.
* Keene State heads to Framingham State for a tri-match on Saturday that also features Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
* Plymouth State travels to Rhode Island College on Saturday for an LEC contest that begins at noon.
(Contributions from Keene State Sports Information)
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