Panthers top NEC in nightcap to move to 6-1
HENNIKER, N.H. – The Plymouth State University women's volleyball team jumped out to a 2-0 lead, then rallied from a 15-14, fifth set deficit to sneak past Elmira College, 3-2 (25-23, 25-15, 18-25, 14-25, 17-15) to open play at the Granite State Challenge at Bridges Gym on Friday night.
PSU followed with a 3-0 (25-21, 25-15, 25-18) win over host New England College to wrap up the first day of play.
With the sweep the Panthers improve to 6-1. Elmira, which topped NEC earlier in the evening, moves to 1-1, while NEC drops to 2-5.
Plymouth State 3, Elmira 2
Plymouth State 3, New England College 0
Plymouth State 5-1
New England College 2-5
How it Happened (Elmira):
* Elmira held an early 11-8 lead in set one before the Panthers went on a tear. Senior Ari Linden (Lena, Ill.) sparked a rally with a kill and junior Alisha Flanagan (Milton, N.H.) served eight straight points as PSU jumped in front, 17-11.
* The Soaring Eagles fought back, whittling the deficit down to 22-21 after a Panther attack error. Flanagan's kill and an Elmira error gave PSU a 24-21 lead and an EC error gave Plymouth a 25-23 win in set one.
* PSU controlled the second set throughout. Consecutive kills from senior Jill Tiner (Salem, N.H.), junior Allie Rogers (Sandown, N.H.) and Flanagan helped build a 15-7 lead. The Panthers pushed the lead up to 19-8 before coasting to a 25-15 win.
* Plymouth held a 13-10 lead in the third set following a kill from Rogers, but Elmira fought back. The game was tied at 14-14, 16-16 and 17-17 before a pair of kills and service ace gave the Soaring Eagles a 20-17 lead and EC hung on for a 25-18 win.
* Elmira used a 7-0 run in the fourth set to turn a 13-13 tie into a 20-13 advantage behind four kills from senior Natalie Schieder (Alden, N.Y.) and the Soaring Eagles forced a fifth set after earning a 25-14 win.
* PSU led for much of the fifth set and a kill from sophomore Carabeth Norklun (Goffstown, N.H.) gave Plymouth an 11-9 lead and forced an EC timeout. Linden's kill put the green-and-white up 14-11, but back-to-back errors and a Schieder kill evened the set at 14-apiece.
* Elmira pulled in front, 15-14, but the Panthers got kills from Rogers and junior Lex Bowers (Port St. Lucie, Fla.), followed by an EC error, to earn the 17-15 win.
Inside the Numbers (Elmira):
* Plymouth hit an impressive .476 (14-4-21) in the second set, and limited Elmira to less than .100 in four of the five sets.
* Schieder pounded down 23 kills for the Soaring Eagles, easily the match-high.
* Rogers (12 kills) and Linden (11 kills) paced the PSU offense.
* Freshman Hannah Chartier (Weare, N.H.) led all players with 22 digs, with Flanagan chipping in with 17.
* Linden recorded six blocks, equaling a career-high for the second straight contest.
* Junior Shannon Howland (Delmar, N.Y.) and freshman Alexa Price (Moultonborough, N.H.) split the setting duties. Howland finished with 28 assists, with Price contributing 13 in her first career game.
* The Panthers are now 1-2 all-time against Elmira. Prior to tonight's contest the teams last met in 2005.
How it Happened (NEC):
* Although they never trailed in the first set, PSU was unable to get much separation from the Pilgrims as the home team wouldn't trail by more than three points until an attack error gave the Panthers a 17-13 lead.
* An ace from Linden gave PSU a 24-18 advantage. Following a 3-0 spurt, a kill from freshman Maria Wimpey (Concord, N.H.) gave the green-and-white a 25-21 win.
* PSU was in control throughout the second set. Kills from Tiner and Flanagan coupled with a pair of Pilgrims errors gave the Panthers a 12-5 lead. Later, three straight kills pushed the advantage to 20-12 and Plymouth cruised to a 25-15 win.
* The Pilgrims kept things close for the majority of the third set. The home team led 14-12 until a string of five straight points for PSU, capped by a huge kill from Linden. NEC cut the deficit to 17-16, but back-to-back kills from Wimpey and Panther block upped the lead to 20-16 and forced a Pilgrims' timeout.
* Plymouth responded with another pair of points out of the timeout and consecutive aces from Howland gave PSU the 25-18 win.
Inside the Numbers (NEC):
* NEC actually outhit the Panthers in the first set (.321 to .258).
* The trio of Howland, senior Kennedy Mang (Livonia, Mich.) and Price combined to spread the offense with 25 total assists.
* Ten different Panthers recorded kills with Wimpey's six leading the way.
* NEC freshman Tihani Ehia (Kaneohe, Hawaii) led all players with nine kills.
* Flanagan paced the defense with a match-best 10 digs.
* PSU moves to 2-0 all-time against the Pilgrims, who celebrated their inaugural season just a year ago.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"We came out strong against Elmira," said head coach Joan Forge, "but they outplayed us in the next two sets. We played very tough in the fifth set with some amazing defensive plays. Winning that fifth set was a tremendous confidence boost for us."
* The Panthers wrap up the Granite State Challenge with two matches at Keene State on Saturday (Sept. 8). PSU will face RIT (12:00 p.m.) and Rivier (4:00 p.m.).
* Elmira squares off with Keene State (12:00 p.m.) and RIT (2:00 p.m.) in day two action on Saturday (Sept. 8).
* The Pilgrims also have a pair of matches scheduled for the final day of the Granite State Challenge. NEC will battle Rivier (2:00 p.m.) and Keene State (4:00 p.m.) to close out the weekend.
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