Flanagan, Linden power Panthers past Smith in opener
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – Junior Alisha Flanagan (Milton, N.H.) and senior Ari Linden (Lena, Ill.) both posted double-doubles to lead Plymouth State University to a 3-2 (27-25, 22-25, 22-25, 25-18, 15-4) win over Smith College in the Panthers' first match at the Hall of Fame Tournament at Ainsworth Gymnasium on Saturday.
PSU dropped the second match of the day, 3-1 (22-25, 9-25, 27-25, 23-25), to Worcester State University despite big games from junior Lex Bowers (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) and sophomore Francie Shaffer (Frederick, Colo.).
Linden was recognized for her strong play by being named PSU's representative to the All-Tournament Team.
Plymouth State stands at 9-18, while Smith moves to 3-20 and Worcester State improves to 17-9.
Plymouth State 3, Smith 2
Plymouth State 1, Worcester State 3
Plymouth State 9-18
Worcester State 17-9
How it Happened (Smith):
* Plymouth State held a 20-16 lead in the first set, but the Pioneers surged in front, 23-20. Trailing 24-22, junior Allie Rogers (Sandown, N.H.) found the floor, and a Smith error tied the set at 24-apiece.
* The Pioneers went ahead on a block, but kills from Linden and Flanagan sandwiched around an ace from freshman Alexa Price (Moultonborough, N.H.) gave PSU the first set 27-25.
* The Panthers built a 17-14 lead in set two before Smith rallied again. The Pioneers scored five-of-six to go up by one, but Plymouth took advantage of a Pioneers' error and Shaffer's kill put the visitors in front, 21-19.
* Smith responded again, this time with a four-point run, to regain the lead. A Smith miscue pulled PSU to within 23-22, but the hosts rattled off the final two points to even the match at one set apiece.
* Plymouth again held a late lead in set three, as Flanagan's kill gave the Panthers a 19-17 advantage. Smith scored six-of-seven to take a 23-20 lead and hung on for a 25-22 win.
* PSU battled back, using Bowers' four-point serving run to take a 22-15 advantage. Flanagan had two kills in the spurt, with Linden adding one. This time the lead was too much for the Pioneers to overcome and senior Jill Tiner (Salem, N.H.) wrapped up the win with a kill.
* Unlike the first four sets, the fifth set was decidedly one-sided. Kills from Shaffer and Linden and an ace by freshman Hannah Douglas (Rochester, N.H.) gave the Panthers a quick 3-0 lead, and Douglas served another two points to force a Smith timeout.
* The hosts got a point back on a service error, but Linden and Bowers notched back-to-back kills as the Panthers extended the lead to 7-1.
* Smith pulled to within 8-3, but Linden's kill sparked a five-point run as the Panthers rolled to a 15-4 win.
Inside the Numbers (Smith):
* After hitting just .063 through the first three sets, PSU hit .286 in sets four and five to complete the comeback.
* The Panthers committed just one attack error against nine kills in the decisive fifth set.
* Bowers led all players with a career-high 28 digs.
* Flanagan pounded down a career-best 15 kills to go with 13 digs for her second double-double of the year, while Linden notched 12 kills and 10 digs for her first of the season.
* Price finished with 25 assists, while senior Kennedy Mang (Livonia, Mich.) added ten assists and 11 digs.
* PSU has gone 8-5 against the Pioneers all-time, with all eight wins coming over the last ten meetings.
* The Panthers got some revenge, as Smith topped PSU by a 3-0 score earlier this season.
How it Happened (Worcester State):
* Worcester State jumped out to an 8-2 lead early in set one, but PSU responded and eventually pulled in front 18-17. The Lacers used three straight kills to regain the advantage and, although the Panthers would pull within two on multiple occasions, Worcester State held on for a 25-22 win.
* Senior Emily Carens (Northborough, Mass.) had four straight kills to open set two as WSU took a quick 5-0 lead. Flanagan's winner momentarily stopped the surge, but the Lancers took five of six points to increase the margin to 10-2, and later used a five point run to close out a 25-9 victory.
* Unwilling to surrender, the Panthers came back stronger. PSU build a 16-11 lead as Flanagan served four straight points. The Lancers answered with a 6-0 spurt to take the lead but Rogers put a ball away to tie things at 17-17.
* From there the game was tied at 19-19, 20-20, 21-21, 22-22, 23-23, 24-24 and 25-25, before a Bowers kill and Worcester State error gave the Panthers a 27-25 win.
* The fourth set was another nip and tuck affair as neither team was able to build more than a two-point advantage. A late 3-0 spurt gave the Lancers a 23-21 lead, but Tiner and Shaffer teamed up for a key block and Shaffer followed with a kill to even things at 23-23.
* Worcester State eliminated any thoughts of a fifth set with consecutive kills to close out the 25-23 win.
Inside the Numbers (Worcester State):
* Shaffer led the Panthers' offense with 12 kills and just three errors, while Bowers added 10 kills and 11 digs for her sixth double-double.
* Price led the offense with 33 assists and added 14 digs, while Douglas also contributed 14 digs.
* PSU hit .207 for the match, while the Lancers posted a .257 attack percentage.
* Worcester State senior Megan Leavens (Storrs, Conn.) led all players with a match-high 31 digs.
* Plymouth State had been 9-0 all-time against the Lancers, including seven 3-0 sweeps.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"We played fantastic in the fifth set against Smith to avenge an earlier season loss to them," said head coach Joan Forge. "Worcester State was a similar team to us and we played each other tough. It was an exciting match to be a part of despite losing."
* All three teams are back on the court on Tuesday (Oct. 23).
* Plymouth State returns home for a Little East Conference match with Castleton University at 6:00 p.m.
* Smith travels to Mount Holyoke for a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest at 7:00 p.m.
* Worcester State visits Anna Maria for a 7:00 p.m. non-conference game.
– 30 –