Norklun's big game leads Panthers to semifinals
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Junior Carabeth Norklun (Goffstown, N.H.) pounded down a match-high 12 kills and third-seeded Plymouth State University held sixth-seeded University of Southern Maine to a -0.086 attack percentage as the Panthers cruised to a 3-0 (25-14, 25-12, 25-13) win in the first round of the Little East Conference (LEC) women's volleyball tournament at Foley Gymnasium on Tuesday night.
Plymouth State (31-4) advances to face second-seed and defending tournament champions Eastern Connecticut State University in the semifinal round on Thursday (Nov. 7) at 7:00 p.m., while the Huskies season ends with a 16-17 mark.
The Panthers' offense was clicking in the early going, hitting .281 in the opening set and using an 11-1 run to coast to a win in the first set. Southern Maine came out strong in the second set, but another long run turned a tight set into a one-sided affair and Plymouth State cruised to the sweep with a dominant performance in set three.
Plymouth State 3, Southern Maine 0
Plymouth State (31-4)
Southern Maine (16-17)
How it Happened:
- Both teams started a little slowly in the opening set, but six straight kills from the PSU offense helped build a 12-3 lead. Following a Huskies' side out, the Panthers another four straight points to build a commanding 16-4 lead and the hosts wouldn't look back on the way to a 25-14 win.
- USM got off to a much better start in the second set and took an early advantage, but an attack error sparked the Panthers. With the score tied at 9-9, Norklun recorded back-to-back kills and two straight aces from sophomore Hannah Chartier (Weare, N.H.) helped the lead grow to 13-9. The teams traded service errors, then senior Lex Bowers (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) ripped off seven straight points to help PSU seize a 21-10 lead, as the Panthers would wrap up set two, 25-12.
- The Huskies scored the first three points of set three, before PSU rallied with a 14-4 spurt. Southern Maine cut the deficit to 14-11 with four straight points, but the Panthers answered with a 10-1 run before closing out the sweep by a 25-13 margin.
Inside the Numbers:
- Norklun added a pair of blocks to her 12 kills, while hitting an impressive .409. Bowers added six kills, with junior Francie Shaffer (Frederick, Colo.) chipping in with five.
- Sophomore Alexa Price (Moultonborough, N.H.) recorded 22 assists and senior libero Alisha Flanagan (Milton, N.H.) led all players with 16 digs.
- Bowers and Chartier served three aces apiece, with Price adding two.
- Southern Maine got five kills from senior Megan Gettings (Bristol, Conn.), with junior Lauren Delissio (Hebron, Conn.) and sophomore Molly Mawhinney (South Portland, Maine) notching ten digs apiece.
- Plymouth State knocked down 37 kills and hit .223 as a team, while the Huskies were limited to 13 kills and a -0.086 attack percentage.
- The Panthers improve to 27-0 all-time against Southern Maine, and 5-0 against the Huskies in LEC Tournament play.
- PSU improves to 16-0 at home this fall.
Straight From the Coach's Mouth:
"We played so well," said head coach Joan Forge. "We put everything together and it was just a fabulous win for us. It was close to flawless and we were in control the entire match. If we play our match [against Eastern Connecticut on Thursday] we will be in good shape and it's going to be fun."
- Third-seeded Plymouth State will travel to second-seeded Eastern Connecticut for a semifinal contest on Thursday (Nov. 7) with first serve slated for 7:00 p.m.
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