Panthers battle defending champions tomorrow night
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Third-seeded Plymouth State University will visit second-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University for the semifinal round of the Little East Conference (LEC) women's volleyball tournament Thursday (Nov. 7) at Geissler Gymnasium. First serve is set for 7:00 p.m.
The Panthers earned a trip to the semifinals for the third time in the last four years after a decisive 3-0 (25-14, 25-12, 25-13) win over sixth-seeded Southern Maine in first round action last night. Standing between Plymouth State and a trip to the conference title game is Eastern Connecticut, which enjoyed a first round bye and will be looking for its second straight tournament title.
The two teams met just last Saturday, with Eastern Connecticut earning a 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-15) win that created a three-way tie atop the final regular season standings. PSU, Eastern Connecticut and WestConn all finished as regular season co-champions with identical 6-2 conference marks, but WestConn was awarded the tournament's top seed by virtue of the league's tie-breaker system. The Colonials host fourth-seeded UMass Boston in Thursday's other semifinal.
At 31-4, PSU is one win shy of matching the program record for wins (32-6) accomplished during the 2009 season. The Panthers improved to 13-5 in first round tournament games and 20-22 in tournament play. A victory over the Warriors will give Plymouth State a seventh appearance in the championship game. PSU is 2-5 all-time in head-to-head postseason matchups with Eastern Connecticut, most recently falling in five sets on the road in the first round in 2014.
Eastern Connecticut has been one of the most dominant teams in Little East tournament history, joining PSU and WestConn as the only schools to appear in every conference tournament since its inception in 1996. The Warriors (14-11) lead all LEC schools with 34 tournament victories and a .692 tournament winning percentage (34-15), while capturing seven titles, including one just last fall. Should ECSU go all the way, it would tie UMass Boston for the most titles with eight. A year ago the Warriors dropped just one set in tournament play.
The winner of tomorrow's match will advance to the championship game set for Saturday (Nov. 9) at the home of the highest remaining seed.
The full LEC Tournament bracket can be found on the conference's website, www.littleeast.com.
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