Panthers sweep Elmira, knock off NEC to remain unbeaten
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University women's volleyball team extended its season-opening unbeaten streak to seven straight matches with a pair of wins over Elmira College and New England College on day one of the Granite State Challenge at Foley Gymnasium on Friday night.
PSU cruised past the Soaring Eagles in straight sets (25-11, 25-11, 25-12), before surviving a battle with New England College, 3-1 (28-26, 25-23, 19-25, 25-20).
Plymouth State remains perfect on the year, improving to 7-0 while dropping just two sets thus far. The last time the Panthers opened a season with as many straight wins was 2009 when the team started 16-0. NEC, which topped Elmira 3-1 in the middle match, moves to 2-3, while Elmira falls to 2-4.
The tournament will continue with additional matches at Keene State College tomorrow.
Plymouth State 3, Elmira 0
Plymouth State 3, NEC 1
Plymouth State (7-0)
How it Happened (Elmira):
- Plymouth got out to a quick start in the first set, taking a 6-1 lead in the early going. Elmira cut the deficit to 10-6, but the Panthers responded with a 13-3 run.
- Senior Lex Bowers (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) and sophomore Alexa Price (Moultonborough, N.H.) both went on lengthy serving runs during the spurt. Bowers' kill wrapped up the 25-11 first set victory.
- The Soaring Eagles kept pace through the early stages of set two, but again the Panthers used strong serving to grab the lead. After leading 5-4, PSU ran off 17 of the next 22 points to take a commanding, 22-9 lead and moments later senior Allie Rogers (Sandown, N.H.) found the floor to wrap up set two, 25-11.
- The third set was never in doubt. An early 6-2 advantage quickly turned into a 17-3 lead after junior Annie Heller (Hudson, N.H.) ripped off eight straight points from the service line and PSU coasted to a 25-12 win.
Inside the Numbers (Elmira):
- PSU's offense was dominant, hitting .486 for the match, and over .500 in the first and third sets.
- Rogers led the Panthers' attack with seven kills without an error, while sophomore Hannah Douglas (Rochester, N.H.) had six kills on six swings.
- Price dished out 15 assists through the first two sets, while sophomore Maria Wimpey (Concord, N.H.) recorded nine assists in the third set.
- Senior Alisha Flanagan (Milton, N.H.) paced the defense with 11 digs, while the Panthers combined for 12 aces.
How it Happened (NEC):
- The Panthers faced their toughest challenge to date in the second match of the night. PSU trailed 14-10 and 20-17 in the first set before Douglas ran three straight points for a 24-22 lead.
- The Pilgrims answered to tie the score at 24-24, then the visitors went up on a service ace. PSU fought off a pair of set points and an ace from A. Flanagan and kill from freshman Emilee Flanagan (Milton, N.H.) gave PSU a 28-26 win in set one.
- It was more of the same in the second set, with neither team able to build more than a four point advantage. Kills by juniors Francie Shaffer (Frederick, Colo.) and Carabeth Norklun (Goffstown, N.H.) broke a 19-19 deadlock as PSU surged ahead, 24-21.
- A missed serve and NEC kill made things tight, but E. Flanagan gave the Panthers a 2-0 lead as her attack found the floor for a 25-23 win.
- The Pilgrims used a 7-0 spurt to build a 20-13 lead in the third set and PSU was unable to rally as NEC hung on for a 25-19 win.
- Set four remained tight in until the Panthers were finally able to create a little space, leading 18-14. A pair of big blocks and untimely NEC errors helped PSU build a 24-17 lead and after the Pilgrims ran off a few points, an error gave Plymouth a 25-20 win.
Inside the Numbers (NEC):
- E. Flanagan pounded down 11 kills while hitting .333, as Bowers and Shaffer each finished with 12 kills.
- Price notched 36 assists, while A. Flanagan led a trio of Panthers with double-digit digs. A. Flanagan finished with 12, while Douglas added 11 and Bowers chipped in with 10.
- The match featured 29 ties and 14 lead changes, include 13 ties and four lead changes in the first set alone.
Straight From the Coach's Mouth:
"We're really positive and passionate," said head coach Joan Forge. "The offense, defense, just everything is clicking. We just have to stay focused."
- Day two of action takes place at Keene State tomorrow afternoon. PSU will face Sage at noon and Rivier at 4:00 p.m.
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