PSU Women’s Volleyball outlasts Southern Maine

PSU Women’s Volleyball outlasts Southern Maine

Panthers' offense shines in LEC win

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Three players finished with double-digit kills and Plymouth State University hit an impressive .302 to earn a 3-1 (19-25, 25-22, 25-16, 26-24) win over the University of Southern Maine in a Little East Conference (LEC) women's volleyball match during Pink Night at Foley Gymnasium on Tuesday.

            Junior Lex Bowers (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) led the Panthers with 15 kills, while sophomore Francie Shaffer (Frederick, Colo.) added 13 and senior Ari Linden (Lena, Ill.) chipped in with 12.

            With the win PSU breaks a six-match skid to improve to 8-11, while picking up its first LEC win of season (1-3 LEC). Southern Maine moves to 12-6 (3-2 LEC).


            The Basics:

            Plymouth State 3, Southern Maine 1


            Plymouth State 8-11, 1-3 LEC

            Southern Maine 12-6, 3-2 LEC


            How it Happened:

            * Southern Maine took a 12-8 lead in set one following a rare Panther attack error. The visitors extended to 19-13 and PSU wouldn't get closer than five points the rest of the way. Junior Megan Gettings (Bristol, Conn.) had a pair of late kills to give USM the first set, 25-19.

            * The turning point in the match came midway through the second set. With the Huskies holding a 13-7 lead, PSU took a timeout to regroup. Kills from junior Alisha Flanagan (Milton, N.H.) and Shaffer and an ace from junior Shannon Howland (Delmar, N.Y.) pulled the Panthers to within 14-10.

            * PSU pulled ahead, 18-17, on a kill from Linden but USM knotted the score at 20-20 moments later. With the Panthers clinging to a 22-21 lead, Linden and Flanagan got back-to-back kills to extend to 23-21 and Shaffer's kill evened the match two points later.

            * Seizing the momentum, Plymouth State jumped out to a quick 6-1 lead in the third set behind five kills from Shaffer and Bowers. Southern Maine fought back, pulling to within a single point on two separate occasions, but each time Shaffer answered with a kill.

            * Leading 18-15, PSU used a 7-1 run to close out the set with key blocks from Bowers, Linden and freshman Alexa Price (Moultonborough, N.H.).

            * With 11 ties, the fourth set was highly contested throughout. USM took the biggest lead of the game, 13-10, following a Panther error, but PSU responded with three straight kills to even things at 13-apiece.

            * Southern Maine held a 23-22 lead, but Linden powered home a kill and Plymouth went ahead on the next point. Sophomore Kacey Foerster (Scarborough, Maine) briefly tied the set at 24-24 with a kill, but a missed serve and one last Shaffer kill closed out a 26-24 win.


            Inside the Numbers:

            * PSU finished with a .302 attack percentage for the match, the third time the team hit above .300 for the season.

            * Plymouth's 51 assists set a new season high, with Price posting a career-best 35 helpers. Howland added 12.

            * Flanagan picked up a match-high 18 digs, with freshman Brooke Beaudet (Gilford, N.H.) adding 14.

            * Bowers finished with her third double-double of the year (15 kills, 12 digs). All three have come in the last six games.

            * Foerster led the Huskies with 11 kills, while sophomore Jamie Jannarone (Windham, Maine) and junior Kylee Austin (Saco, Maine) each pitched in with eight.

            * Plymouth State remains perfect against USM, improving to 24-0 all-time.


            Straight from the Coach's Mouth:

            "We said enough is enough," said head coach Joan Forge. "We started out the season so strong and all of a sudden we took this nose dive, but we said it's October and we're starting over again. We really talked about October being our month and having a strong finish to the season. The crowd was fantastic and gave the team a lot of energy. Everything just all came together and this is hopefully going to propel us into the rest of October."


            Up Next:

            * The Panthers travel to Endicott on Saturday (Oct. 6) for a pair of matches against two of the top teams in New England. PSU faces the host Gulls at 11:00 a.m., followed by Babson at 1:00 p.m. Endicott is currently ranked ninth in the latest New England Women's Volleyball Association (NEWVA) poll, with Babson holding the eighth spot.

            * Southern Maine travels to Rhode Island College for a key LEC match on Saturday (Oct. 6) at 12:00 p.m.




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