Offense clicks as Panthers make final playoff push
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Plymouth State University pounded out 44 kills in a dominant 3-0 (25-2, 25-13, 25-15) win over Castleton University in a key Little East Conference (LEC) volleyball match at Foley Gymnasium on Tuesday evening.
The Panthers keep their postseason hopes alive, moving to within one game of idle Southern Maine for the sixth and final playoff spot. Plymouth State needs a win over the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on Saturday, coupled with a Huskies' loss at Eastern Connecticut, to lock up the LEC Tournament's No. 6 seed. The Panthers are one of just three schools to qualify for the tournament every season since its inception in 1996.
The home team smashed 16 kills on 18 attempts without an error (.889 attack pct.) in the opening set and finished the match with a season-best .415 hitting percentage. PSU showed its depth as ten of the 14 players to see the court recorded at least one kill.
The Panthers improve to 10-18 (2-5 LEC), while Castleton drops its eighth straight match to fall to 2-18 and 0-7 in league play.
Plymouth State 3, Castleton 0
Plymouth State 10-18, 2-5 LEC
Castleton 2-18, 0-7 LEC
How it Happened:
* After a quick sideout, freshman Alexa Price (Moultonborough, N.H.) served Plymouth State to a 9-0 lead before Castleton used its first timeout. Seven of the nine points were scored on Panthers' kills, including three by senior Jill Tiner (Salem, N.H.).
* PSU didn't let up after the break, as Price served another seven points to extend the lead to 16-0 before the visitors used their second timeout. Sophomore Francie Shaffer (Frederick, Colo.) ripped off three kills in the spurt.
* Freshman Hannah Douglas (Rochester, N.H.) capped the first set with an ace to secure the 25-2 win.
* Douglas picked up another ace and senior Ari Linden (Lena, Ill.) pounded a kill as the Panthers took a 6-3 lead early in the second set.
* The Spartans hung around, pulling to within 12-8 following a PSU serving error, but Plymouth State scored the next six points to erase any doubt. Sophomore Carabeth Norklun (Goffstown, N.H.) ripped off three aces in the stretch.
* A kill from junior Annie Heller (Hudson, N.H.) sparked a four point run to close out the second set.
* Not to be discouraged, the Spartans came out strong in the third set grabbing a 7-3 lead in the early stages. Following a Norklun kill, freshman Maria Wimpey (Concord, N.H.) rattled off 10 straight points as the home team jumped back in front. Douglas picked up four kills during the run.
* Kills from Heller and Tiner, coupled with an ace by senior Kennedy Mang (Livonia, Mich.) extended the advantage to 19-11, and an emphatic kill by Tiner ultimately wrapped up the 25-15 win.
Inside the Numbers:
* The Panthers crushed 44 kills and had eight different players register at least three. Douglas led all players with eight, while Tiner and Shaffer added seven apiece.
* Tiner played an error-free game, posting a .636 attack pct. (7-0-11), while Shaffer hit an impressive .545 (7-1-11).
* Price and Mang split the setting duties, combining for 40 assists.
* The Panthers ripped off 11 aces, the most since a Sept. 15 win over Lehman when the team notched 14.
* PSU easily set a season high with its .415 attack percentage.
* This was the first ever meeting between the two programs.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"This past weekend we played the best volleyball we've played all season," said head coach Joan Forge. "We need to continue doing our best, with great defense and great serving. It's got to be perfection. We can't make a lot of errors and we've been cutting back on our errors lately. The main thing is to be aggressive, have good setter-hitter connections and have some fun out there as well."
* PSU visits Colby-Sawyer on Thursday (Oct. 25) for a final tune-up before the huge regular season finale with UMass Dartmouth at noon on Saturday (Oct. 27).
* Castleton hosts Norwich on Thursday (Oct. 25) in a non-conference match at 7:00 p.m.
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