Panthers secure Coach Forge's first career victories
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – The Plymouth State University women's volleyball team rallied from a 23-21 first set deficit to top The Sage Colleges, 3-1, before sweeping Utica College, 3-0, during the first day of action at the Best Western Plus-Ground Round Cardinal Classic at SUNY Plattsburgh's Memorial Hall on Friday night.
The wins mark the first career coaching victories for head coach Joan Forge, who took over the program in January. With the wins the Panthers start the season with a 2-0 mark. Utica finished the day 0-1, while Sage went 0-2.
Plymouth State 3, Sage 1
Plymouth State 3, Utica 0
Plymouth State 2-0
How it Happened (Sage):
* PSU forced an early timeout after opening the game on a 9-4 run, but Sage followed with a 12-4 spurt to pull in front, 16-13.
* A Sage kill gave the visitors a 20-17 lead and forced a Panther timeout, but Plymouth rallied and an ace from junior Lex Bowers (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) evened the score at 23-23.
* Senior Jill Tiner (Salem, N.H.) found the floor and PSU rattled off another point to complete the first set comeback, 25-23.
* PSU took advantage of a number of Gators' miscues to build a 15-4 lead in set two and later, Tiner's kill made it a 20-10 advantage as the Panthers cruised to a 25-17 win.
* The third set was back and forth with neither team able to gain much momentum. An ace from junior Alisha Flanagan (Milton, N.H.) and kill from senior Ari Linden (Lena, Ill.) put Plymouth in front 15-12.
* The Gators fought back, taking a 22-21 lead after a block and Panther error. PSU cut the deficit to 23-22, but back to back Gators' kills gave Sage a 25-22 win.
* The early stages of set four were very similar. With the score knotted at ten, PSU went on a 10-3 run behind Flanagan's four aces to seize control. Sage tried to stop the momentum with a timeout, but PSU rolled to the 25-17 win.
Inside the Numbers (Sage):
* PSU struggled offensively in the early going, but pounded out 11 kills against just two errors to hit .409 in the fourth set.
* Linden led the way with nine kills (9-1-21), while Tiner and Flanagan combined for 11 kills and zero errors.
* Howland paced the offense with 16 assists, with Mang adding 12.
* The Panthers served a ridiculous 22 aces in the match, led by Flanagan's five and another four from freshman Hannah Douglas (Rochester, N.H.). Four other players registered three aces each.
* Flanagan picked up 16 digs, with Bowers chipping in with 14.
* Plymouth topped Sage, 3-0, in the only other meeting between the teams at last year's season opening tournament.
How it Happened (Utica):
* Plymouth held a 21-15 advantage after a kill from junior Allie Rogers (Sandown, N.H.), but Utica rallied scoring five-of-six points to cut the lead to 22-20.
* Sophomore Carabeth Norklun (Goffstown, N.H.) stopped the run with a kill and PSU closed out the first set.
* Plymouth State raced out to a 9-3 lead in set two aided by a pair of aces from Flanagan. Utica again fought back to pull within 18-16, but Flanagan served three straight points behind Linden's two kills and the Panthers held on for a 25-19 win.
* Not to be denied, the Pioneers used a long service run to take an 18-15 lead in set three. The Panthers battled back and Norklun's kill knotted the game at 22-apiece. Trailing 23-22, Flanagan's kill evened the score again, and junior Shannon Howland (Delmar, N.Y.) served back-to-back aces to wrap up the win.
Inside the Numbers (Utica):
* PSU hit .299 (39-10-97) as a team over the three sets.
* Senior Kennedy Mang (Livonia, Mich.) and Howland shared the setting duties, racking up a combined 30 assists. Howland added five aces and seven digs to the effort.
* Flanagan led PSU with 10 kills, while Linden finished with eight kills without an error (8-0-16).
* This was only the second time the two teams had faced off, with PSU also earning a three-set sweep in 2000.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"Winning our first two matches is a fantastic way to start," said Forge. "It's the perfect confidence builder. The pieces of the puzzle are falling into place and we're excited for tomorrow."
* PSU plays two more games on Saturday (Sept. 1) to wrap up the tournament. PSU meets Mt. St. Mary (N.Y.) at 11:00 a.m., before squaring off with SUNY Canton at 1:00 p.m.
* Sage opens day two against host Plattsburgh State at 1:00 p.m., and faces Mt. St. Mary at 3:00 p.m.
* Utica plays Plattsburgh State at 11:00 a.m. before meeting SUNY Canton at 3:00 p.m.
– 30 –