Panthers top hosts before falling to Potsdam State
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – The Plymouth State University women's volleyball team opened the 2017 season with a split during day one of the SUNY Plattsburgh Cardinal Classic.
PSU (1-1) kicked off the year with a 3-1 victory over the host Cardinals. After dropping the opening set 25-18, the Panthers won three straight sets (25-20, 28-26, 25-14) to earn the win. PSU fell in the nightcap to Potsdam State in an evenly matched battle, 3-2 (23-25, 25-20, 21-25, 25-23, 12-15).
"We learned a lot about ourselves tonight," said head coach Chris Kilmer. "We worked through some things against Plattsburgh, before putting together a really great effort against Potsdam. That was a heck of a match and I'm proud of the way we battled."
Senior outside hitter Claire Sporer (Medford, Ore.) recorded double-doubles in each of the two games, posting a match-high 17 kills and 15 digs against Plattsburgh. Sophomore Alexis Bowers (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) added 13 kills against the Cardinals, with junior Ari Linden (Lena, Ill.) chipping in with six kills and five blocks. Senior setter Megan Bailey (Canterbury, N.H.) paced the offense with 44 assists, while classmates Brenna Peruch (Cave Creek, Ariz.) and Grace Sporer (Medford, Ore.) led the defense with 23 and 12 digs respectively.
With the match tied 1-1 the Panthers found themselves down 17-10 and 23-17 in the critical third set, before a service run by Peruch brought PSU to within 23-21. A Cardinal sideout gave the hosts set-point, but Plymouth answered and Grace Sporer served three points to give PSU a 25-24 lead. Consecutive points by Plattsburgh gave the Cardinals a second set point before the Panthers responded with a 3-0 burst to take the set 28-26. Plymouth rolled in the fourth set, hitting .440 as a team to earn the victory.
Bowers paced the Panthers with 16 kills while hitting .314 in the back-and-forth contest with Potsdam. Freshman Francie Shaffer (Frederick, Colo.) added 14 kills, with Linden (13 kills, .303 attack pct.) and Claire Sporer (12 kills, 10 digs) also playing key roles. Bailey posted 50 assists and 11 digs, with Peruch leading the defense with 27 digs.
Potsdam led the match 2-1 and maintained a 23-21 lead in the fourth set before PSU rebounded. Following a timeout the Panthers got kills from Shaffer and Linden sandwiched around a pair of Potsdam errors to earn the 25-23 victory. The fifth set was close throughout. Potsdam pulled ahead 12-8 but two kills from Bowers and a mishandled ball cut it to 12-11. That was as close as the Panthers would get, however, as Potsdam held on for the 15-12 victory.
Plymouth State closes the tournament with two more matches on Saturday (Sept. 2). PSU will open with Sage College (1:00 p.m.) before wrapping up the weekend against SUNY Canton at 3:00 p.m.
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