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.
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).
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."
* 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.
– 30 –