Bowers, Flanagan lead Panthers in battle with Geneseo
WELLESLEY, Mass. – Juniors Lex Bowers (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) and Alisha Flanagan (Milton, N.H.) combined for 25 kills and 30 digs, but the Plymouth State University women's volleyball team fell to SUNY Geneseo, 3-1 (26-28, 25-18, 16-25, 20-25) in the first game of a tri-match at Wellesley College's Dorothy Towne Fieldhouse on Saturday.
The Panthers closed the afternoon with a 3-0 (10-25, 15-25, 15-25) setback to the host Blue. Wellesley earned a 3-0 (25-22, 25-11, 25-22) sweep of Geneseo in the day's other match.
Wellesley currently holds the fifth spot in the latest New England Women's Volleyball Association (NEWVA) poll.
Following the completion of the day's action, PSU stands at 8-16, while Geneseo goes to 17-7 and Wellesley to 15-3.
Plymouth State 1, SUNY Geneseo 3
Plymouth State 0, Wellesley 3
Plymouth State 8-16
SUNY Geneseo 17-7
How it Happened (SUNY Geneseo):
* The Panthers put up a great fight in a highly contested match with Geneseo. The opening set saw 18 ties and neither team led by more than two points as the teams went back and forth.
* A kill from senior Jill Tiner (Salem, N.H.) gave the Panthers an 11-9 lead in the early stages.
* Geneseo ran three straight points to pull ahead, 20-18, but Tiner and sophomore Francie Shaffer (Frederick, Colo.) had kills and a Knights' error pulled PSU to within 22-21.
* PSU fought off two set points and a back-to-back Geneseo miscues helped the Panthers to a 26-25 lead, but the Knights responded with three straight kills to take the first set, 28-26.
* Set two started similarly, but with the game tied at 7-7 the Panthers took a lead they would not relinquish courtesy of back-to-back aces from senior Kennedy Mang (Livonia, Mich.).
* Geneseo cut the margin to 15-13, but PSU responded with a 6-0 run to take control. The Knights wouldn't get closer than six points the rest of the way and senior Ari Linden (Lena, Ill.) capped the 25-18 win with a kill.
* The third set began the same way until a three point run by the Knights resulted in a 9-7 deficit for PSU. Shaffer's kill made it 12-9, but Geneseo answered with a 6-1 run to pull ahead.
* An error and Linden kill pulled the Panthers to within 18-12, but that was as close as they would get as the Knights recovered to earn a 25-16 win.
* Trailing 10-6 early in the fourth set, junior Allie Rogers (Sandown, N.H.) found the floor to spark a PSU rally. Mang followed with an ace and Bowers' kill cut the margin to 10-9 and the Panthers would remain within striking distance.
* Shaffer and Bowers notched consecutive kills and Flanagan's ace, coupled with a Geneseo error, pushed the Panthers in front, 17-16, but the Knights answered with a six-point run to jump back in front.
* Rogers connected twice to pull PSU to within 22-19, but Geneseo was able to hold on for a 25-20 win.
Inside the Numbers (SUNY Geneseo):
* Bowers posted her fifth double-double, leading the team with 14 kills and adding 13 digs.
* Flanagan also notched a double-double, recording 11 kills and 17 digs, with eight of her kills coming in the first set.
* Freshman Alexa Price (Moultonborough, N.H.) guided the PSU offense with a career-best 45 assists. She added a team-high 18 digs for her third double-double of the season.
* Freshman Brooke Beaudet (Gilford, N.H.) was the fourth Panther with double-digit digs, recording 16 for the match.
* This was the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
How it Happened (Wellesley):
* Wellesley wasted little time setting the tone in the first set, as the Blue raced out to an 11-1 lead. Shaffer's kill momentarily slowed the momentum, but Wellesley senior Yasmine Reece (New Rochelle, N.Y.) caught fire as the hosts extended their lead.
* The Panthers hung tough to open set two and Flanagan's kill, followed by a Wellesley error, pulled PSU to within 13-9. Reece responded with three straight kills, though, as the Blue grabbed control.
* Linden's ace made it 21-14, but the hosts took four of the next five points to grab the second set.
* Bowers recorded consecutive aces in set three to tie the game at 9-9. Wellesley pulled ahead, 14-10, but a miscue by the hosts and Mang's ace pulled PSU to within 14-12.
* Wellesley answered with an 8-1 spurt and never looked back.
Inside the Numbers (Wellesley):
* Linden led the Panthers with a six kills and a .385 attack percentage (6-1-13).
* Bowers and Flanagan led the PSU defense with 11 and 10 digs, respectively.
* Mang posted 11 assists.
* Reece was unstoppable for the Blue, pounding down 18 kills against one error (.680).
* Plymouth State is 0-3 all-time against Wellesley. In their most recent meeting, the Panthers fell in a dramatic five-set match to the Blue to open the 2016 season.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"We played Geneseo very tough," said head coach Joan Forge. "I thought we showed mental toughness to come back and win the second set by a good margin after losing the first set 28-26. Wellesley is one of the top teams in New England. It was a great experience for us to play against a top notch program."
* PSU visits Eastern Connecticut for a key Little East Conference match on Friday (Oct. 19), with first serve set for 6:00 p.m.
* SUNY-Geneseo hosts a SUNYAC Pool Play on Friday (Oct. 19) and Saturday (Oct. 20), starting with Plattsburgh State Friday night at 5:00 p.m.
* Wellesley travels to MIT for a NEWMAC contest on Tuesday (Oct. 16) starting at 7:00 p.m.
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