Panthers square off against UMass Boston on Saturday
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – For just the second time in school history the Plymouth State University women's volleyball team will be hosting the championship match of the Little East Conference (LEC) Tournament. The third-seeded Panthers will welcome fourth-seeded University of Massachusetts Boston to Foley Gymnasium for the title match Saturday (Nov. 9) with first serve set for noon.
Plymouth State advanced to the championship game thanks to a riveting, five-set win at second-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University last night in which the Panthers won every odd-numbered set. PSU closed out the victory with an 11-3 run in the fifth set, cruising to a 15-7 win to reach the finals for the first time since 2016. Plymouth State avenged a 3-0 loss at the hands of the Warriors from just last Saturday that denied the Panthers the outright regular season title and top seed for the tournament.
UMass Boston also needed to pull off a five-set upset to reach the title match. The Beacons roared out to a 2-0 lead against top-seeded WestConn, only to see the Colonials rally to win the third and fourth sets and take a 10-6 lead in the fifth. UMB battled back, though, using a 9-3 run to earn a thrilling 15-13 win. The Beacons also got some revenge in the semifinals, beating a WestConn team that had earned a five-set victory over UMB just eight days prior. UMass Boston makes its tenth appearance in the conference finals, with all ten coming in the last 12 years.
Plymouth State improved to 32-4 to match the program record for wins in a season. One more victory would establish a new school record, but more importantly would earn the Panthers the Little East's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament for just the second time (2004).
Standing in the way is a UMass Boston (11-18) team that has been a thorn in the side of PSU over the last decade. Plymouth State has been eliminated from the LEC tournament by the Beacons four times in nine years, including three times in the championship game (2009, 2011, 2016). The Beacons' eight tournament titles are the most in conference history and the team has played in the championship game ten times since 2008. Overall UMB has posted a 24-11 record in tournament play, and the Beacons knocked off PSU in Boston, 3-0, back on Oct. 9.
The winner of the title game will claim the LEC's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
The full LEC Tournament bracket can be found on the conference's website, www.littleeast.com.
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