Flanagan powers Panthers in pair of non-conference setbacks
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – Junior Alisha Flanagan (Milton, N.H.) finished the afternoon with 16 kills and four aces, but the Plymouth State University women's volleyball team dropped a pair of non-conference matches by identical 3-0 scores in a tri-match at Smith College on Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers fell to Wheaton College, ranked seventh in the most recent New England Women's Volleyball Association (NEWVA) poll, 3-0 (25-21, 28-26, 25-10), before dropped a 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-21) decision to the host Pioneers. Wheaton topped Smith, 3-0, in the opening match of the day.
Plymouth State drops to 7-11 on the year, while Wheaton improves to 16-2. Smith ends the day with a 2-13 mark.
Plymouth State 0, Wheaton 3
Plymouth State 0, Smith 3
Plymouth State 7-11
How it Happened (Wheaton):
* The Panthers took a quick 4-0 lead behind an ace from Flanagan and later a kill from junior Allie Rogers (Sandown, N.H.) and a Lyons' error put the Panthers ahead 13-7.
* PSU maintained the lead, going up 18-12 after a Wheaton missed serve, but the Lyons answered with six straight points to tie the game at 18-18. Flanagan's kill gave the Panthers a brief 19-18 lead, but the Lyons responded with another six point run to go up 24-19.
* Plymouth State pulled to within 24-21 after an error and ace by senior Kennedy Mang (Livonia, Mich.), but a Wheaton kill wrapped up the first set.
* Set two was a back-and-forth affair, with Wheaton holding a slight lead the majority of the way. Junior Shannon Howland (Delmar, N.Y.) picked up an ace as the Panthers pulled to within 15-14 midway through the set.
* Wheaton took a 23-18 lead, but kills from sophomore Francie Shaffer (Frederick, Colo.) and Mang, paired with a Wheaton error, cut the deficit to 23-21. The Lyons earned set point on a kill, but a service error and back-to-back attack errors tied the set at 24-apiece.
* PSU had two shots to close out the set, taking a 25-24 lead after freshman Brooke Beaudet (Gilford, N.H.) had an ace, and 26-25 following a kill from senior Ari Linden (Lena, Ill.), but each time the Lyons responded. With the set tied at 26-26, back-to-back aces by senior Cat MacGregor (North Andover, Mass.) gave the Lyons the win.
* Wheaton jumped out to a big lead early in the third set and the Panthers were unable to claw back.
Inside the Numbers (Wheaton):
* Flanagan paced the offense with six kills, with junior Lex Bowers (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) and Linden chipping in with four apiece.
* Howland and Mang combined for 18 assists, 11 digs and a pair of aces.
* Beaudet led the PSU defense with 10 digs.
* Plymouth State is 5-4 all-time against Wheaton. The Lyons' win breaks a string of four straight victories for the Panthers.
How it Happened (Smith):
* In a nip-and-tuck match, neither team was able to build more than a two-point advantage through most of the first set. Smith pulled ahead 20-16, the PSU rallied to tie the game at 22-22 following kills from Shaffer and sophomore Carabeth Norklun (Goffstown, N.H.).
* The Pioneers closed out the set with back-to-back kills and a service ace to take set one 25-22.
* Flanagan notched a pair of kills and Howland added two aces as PSU built an early 5-1 lead in set two. Smith used a 12-6 run to take a 13-11 lead, but an error and kill from Rogers knotted things at 13-13.
* Smith again pulled in front, this time taking a 23-19 advantage, but the Pioneers missed a serve and a kill from Flanagan and ace from Linden pulled PSU to within a point, 23-22. Smith answered with a big kill from sophomore Amy Hagen (Owings, Md.) and a service ace gave the hosts set two, 25-22.
* Shaffer's kill tied the third set at 10-10 and later, after the Pioneers pulled ahead 19-15, Flanagan's kill sparked a PSU rally.
* Plymouth State scored the next five points with kills from Shaffer and Howland to pull in front, 21-20, but the Pioneers ran off the next five points to wrap up the win.
Inside the Numbers (Smith):
* Flanagan pounded down a team-best ten kills while hitting .421 (10-2-19) to lead the offense.
* Howland finished with 14 assists and three aces.
* Linden notched a team-high eight digs, while freshman Hannah Chartier (Weare, N.H.) added seven.
* Shaffer had two of the team's four solo blocks, while adding six kills.
* Plymouth State leads the all-time series 7-5. The Panthers had won seven of the last eight meetings.
* The two teams will match-up again in three weeks (Oct. 20) as part of the Hall of Fame Tournament.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"We need to get over the hurdle and start winning close matches," said head coach Joan Forge. "We are looking forward to turning the corner in October."
* Plymouth State hosts Southern Maine for a Little East Conference match on Tuesday (Oct. 2) at 6:00 p.m. The game will also serve as the team's Dig Pink contest, as PSU works to raise funds to support breast cancer research.
* Wheaton travels to Emerson for a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) game on Tuesday (Oct. 2) with first serve scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
* Smith will visit Springfield College in NEWMAC action on Tuesday (Oct. 2) at 7:00 p.m.
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