Panthers outlast Colonials, 24-22, in crazy fifth set
DANBURY, Conn. – In an epic battle, Plymouth State University held off Western Connecticut State University in five sets (25-12, 23-25, 20-25, 25-21, 24-22) to move into sole possession of first place in the Little East Conference (LEC) in the first of three matches at Feldman Arena on Saturday.
PSU added a four set win (25-18, 22-25, 25-18, 25-23) over Mt. St. Vincent in its second match of the day, while the results of WestConn and Mt. St. Vincent were not available at the time of release.
With first place in the LEC on the line, Plymouth State and WestConn squared off in one of the most exciting matches of the season. The Colonials scored the first four points and led 8-5 at the switch, but rallied to pull in front, 12-10. PSU fought off match point (14-13), but WestConn survived four match point opportunities for the Panthers to pull ahead 19-18. Unfazed, Plymouth State pulled right back in front and finally put the match away with an ace.
Plymouth State ends the day at 26-2 and moves into the top spot in the LEC with a 5-1 mark. WestConn goes to 17-5 (4-2 LEC), while Mt. St. Vincent drops to 12-7.
Plymouth State 3, WestConn 2
Plymouth State 3, Mt. St. Vincent 1
Plymouth State (26-2, 5-1 LEC)
WestConn (17-5, 4-2 LEC)
Mt. St. Vincent (12-7)
How it Happened (WestConn):
- Plymouth State used a 12-0 run early in the first set to build a 14-3 lead and the Panthers never looked back, coasting to a 25-12 win to open the match.
- WestConn led 22-17 in set two, but three straight PSU kills and a Colonials' error pulled the Panthers to within one point, 22-21. The hosts got a side out to stop the run and the teams traded points with WestConn holding on for a 25-23 win.
- The hosts used a five-point run to open up a 17-13 lead in set three and the Colonials would maintain the advantage on the way to a 25-20 win.
- PSU got out to a 4-0 lead in the fourth set. WestConn cut the margin to 14-13, but that was as close as the Colonials would get as the Panthers forced a fifth set with a 25-21 win.
- WestConn held an 8-6 at the switch, but PSU rallied to pull ahead 11-9. WestConn tied the game and the teams went back-and-fort until senior Alisha Flanagan's (Milton, N.H.) ace wrapped up a 24-22 win.
Inside the Numbers (WestConn):
- Senior Lex Bowers (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) was one of three Panthers with double digit kills after tallying 12. Junior Francie Shaffer (Frederick, Colo.) added 11, while freshman Emilee Flanagan (Milton, N.H.) chipped in with ten while hitting .350.
- Alisha Flanagan tallied a career-high 34 digs. Bowers and sophomore Brooke Beaudet (Gilford, N.H.) each added 16.
- Sophomore setter Alexa Price (Moultonborough, N.H.) totaled 47 assists, while junior Carabeth Norklun (Goffstown, N.H.) controlled the net with seven blocks.
- PSU improved to 5-1 in five set matches.
How it Happened (Mt. St. Vincent):
- PSU cruised in the first set, using an early 7-1 spurt to take a 9-3 lead. The Panthers never looked back on the way to a 25-18 decision.
- Mt. St. Vincent built an 18-13 advantage in set two. PSU closed to within two in the late stages, but the Dolphins held off the late rally to even the match after a 25-22 win.
- The third set remained tight until three straight points gave the Panthers an 18-12 advantage and Mt. St. Vincent would not get closer than four points the rest of the way as PSU earned a 25-17 victory.
- The Dolphins took an early lead to build an 11-4 advantage and force a PSU timeout. Plymouth responded with seven straight points out of the break to even the score, but Mt. St. Vincent went right back in front with another service run to make it 17-12 and cause Plymouth State to use its final timeout.
- Again the Panthers answered, tying the game at 18-all, before scoring the final three points for a 25-23 win.
Inside the Numbers (Mt. St. Vincent):
- Shaffer totaled 11 kills (.435 pct.), while Norklun added ten kills against just one error (.600 pct.).
- Bowers led the defense with 13 digs, as Emilee Flanagan tallied eight blocks.
- Plymouth State's 26 wins are the fourth most in program history, trailing just the 2009 season (32-6), 2003 season (29-8) and 2004 season (28-12).
- Plymouth State hosts Colby-Sawyer in non-conference action at Foley Gymnasium on Wednesday (Oct. 23). First serve is set for 6:00 p.m.
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