Panthers dispatch of Sage, Rivier to win tournament
KEENE, N.H. – For the second straight weekend the Plymouth State University women's volleyball team went undefeated in tournament play, this time knocking off the Sage Colleges and Rivier University to close out play at the Granite State Challenge at the Campus Recreation Center at Keene State College on Saturday.
The Panthers extended their best start in a decade to 9-0 after a 3-0 (25-21, 27-25, 25-20) sweep of Sage and a 3-1 (19-25, 25-23, 25-15, 25-19) win over Rivier. PSU hadn't topped the Raiders since the 2011 season.
Plymouth State used a balanced effort to top the Gators in the first match of the day, before junior Francie Shaffer (Frederick, Colo.) helped the team to an impressive win over Rivier. Shaffer finished with 12 kills and a .357 attack percentage, while the Panthers' defense slowed down a powerful Rivier offense.
Plymouth State 3, Sage 0
Plymouth State 3, Rivier 1
Plymouth State (9-0)
How it Happened (Sage):
- PSU got off to a slow start in the day's first match, a rematch of the season opener won by the Panthers, 3-0.
- Plymouth State earned a 25-21 win in the opening set, and narrowly escaped the second set with a 27-25 victory.
- The Panthers wrapped up the sweep, already their sixth of the season, with a slightly more comfortable, 25-20 win in the third set.
Inside the Numbers (Sage):
- Plymouth relied on its depth in the win as ten different players registered at least three kills. Shaffer led the way with seven kills in just two sets, while senior Lex Bowers (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) and freshman Emilee Flanagan (Milton, N.H.) each chipped in with six.
- Freshman Natalie Gravelle (Portsmouth, N.H.) was especially efficient in her one set of action, tallying four kills on just five attacks (.800).
- Sophomore Alexa Price (Moultonborough, N.H.) dished out 22 assists and added five kills over the first two sets.
- Senior Alisha Flanagan (Milton, N.H.) paced the defense with 16 digs, while Bowers also reached double-digit digs with 10.
How it Happened (Rivier):
- In its biggest test of the season thus far, PSU rallied from a first set loss to top the Raiders. Rivier limited the Panthers to just a .068 attack percentage in the opening set to earn a 25-19 win.
- Plymouth State bounced back in a big way, hitting .375, .308 and .296 in the final three sets.
- The Panthers outlasted Rivier in set two, 25-23, then limited the Raiders' offense to just a -.176 attack percentage in a convincing, 25-15 win in set two.
- PSU closed out the match with another solid performance, committing just two attack errors to take set four by a 25-19 score.
Inside the Numbers (Rivier):
- Shaffer had a great game at the net, pounding down 12 kills while making just two errors. Bowers added 11 kills and E. Flanagan was overpowering with nine kills, six blocks and a .364 hitting percentage.
- Price contributed on both sides of the ball – handing out 41 assists and adding 11 digs – while A. Flanagan dug up 21 balls. Sophomore Brooke Beaudet (Gilford, N.H.) was also a huge factor in the backrow with 16 digs.
- PSU hit .248 for the match.
- The win snapped a six-match losing streak against Rivier.
Straight From the Coach's Mouth:
"It was another fantastic performance," said head coach Joan Forge. "Every player was able to make contributions to our success."
- Plymouth State will look for its tenth win of the year on Wednesday (Sept. 11) with it travels to Eastern Nazarene for a 7:00 p.m. contest.
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