Shaffer, Norklun lead Panthers to two wins
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Juniors Francie Shaffer (Frederick, Colo.) and Carabeth Norklun (Goffstown, N.H.) combined for 36 kills to lead Plymouth State University past Rhode Island College, 3-2 (26-24, 23-25, 24-26, 25-14, 15-9), in the first of three matches at Foley Gymnasium on Saturday.
PSU improved to 3-1 in the Little East Conference (LEC) with the win over RIC, then capped the day with a 3-0 (25-14, 25-11, 25-20) win over Bridgewater State University in the day's final match. The Anchorwomen held off BSU for a 3-2 (24-26, 25-18, 25-15, 14-25, 15-13) win in the middle match.
Shaffer pounded down 18 kills and hit an even .500 in the win over RIC, with Norklun adding 18 kills, three blocks while hitting .448. The Panthers recovered from a 2-1 deficit to earn a decisive win in the fourth set, then trailed 8-7 in the fifth set before running off eight of the next nine points for the conference win.
Norklun added nine kills (.400 pct.) as the Panthers controlled Bridgewater State.
Plymouth State ends the day at 23-2 (3-1 LEC), while RIC moves to 7-11 (1-4 LEC) and Bridgewater State drops to 6-10.
Plymouth State 3, Rhode Island College 2
Plymouth State 3, Bridgewater State 0
Plymouth State (23-2, 3-1 LEC)
Rhode Island College (7-12, 1-4 LEC)
Bridgewater State (6-10)
How it Happened (Rhode Island College):
- In a highly contested first set that saw 12 ties and five lead changes, the Panthers snuck out a 26-24 win when sophomore Hannah Douglas (Rochester, N.H.) and Norklun combined for a set-winning block.
- The second set was even closer with 15 ties and six lead changes. A kill from senior Lex Bowers (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) tied the score at 23-all, but the Anchorwomen answered with a kill and ace for the 25-23 win.
- PSU built an 18-10 lead in the third set, but RIC battled back to knot the game at 24-24 before an error and kill gave the visitors a 26-24 victory.
- In the fourth set, Plymouth State jumped out to an 8-0 lead and was never challenged, coasting to a 25-14 win to force a decisive fifth set.
- The fifth set went back-and-forth through the early stages, with RIC holding an 8-7 lead at the side change. Norklun's kill sparked a 7-0 run as PSU grabbed the lead and her 18th kill of the match wrapped up the 15-9 victory.
Inside the Numbers (Rhode Island College):
- Norklun's 18 kills were a career high. She pounded down four kills on five attempts in the fifth set.
- Shaffer tied a career best with her 18 kills and notched three kills on four swings in the decisive set.
- Freshman Emilee Flanagan (Milton, N.H.) also finished in double digit kills with ten, while adding three blocks.
- Sophomore Alexa Price (Moultonborough, N.H.) posted a career high 52 assists and added 13 digs, while senior Alisha Flanagan (Milton, N.H.) and Bowers each tallied 16 digs.
How it Happened (Bridgewater State):
- A BSU error and Bowers kill gave PSU a 7-2 lead in the first set to force a Bears' timeout. Plymouth State maintained the lead with Shaffer's third kill of the set wrapping up a 25-14 win.
- A. Flanagan ran off eight straight points to give the Panthers a 13-5 lead as PSU coasted to a 25-11 victory in set two.
- Bridgewater State ran out to a 5-1 lead in the third set. PSU rallied to tie the score at 12-12, then outscored the visitors by a 13-8 margin the rest of the way to complete the sweep with a 25-20 win.
Inside the Numbers (Bridgewater State):
- Norklun added two blocks to her team-high nine kills, while Bowers chipped in with eight kills.
- Freshman Natalie Gravelle (Portsmouth, N.H.) tallied five kills and three blocks, while A. Flanagan paced the defense with 12 digs.
- Price handed out a match-high 25 assists.
Straight From the Coach's Mouth:
"We learned a lot from the UMass Boston game and I thought we did a great job of putting it into today's two matches," said head coach Joan Forge. "It was great to see us get back in sync and get better as the day progressed."
- PSU hosts rival Keene State in another LEC contest on Wednesday (Oct. 16) starting at 6:00 p.m.
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