Plymouth State Comes from Behind to Down USM 3-2

USM dropped a heartbreaking 3-2 decision to Plymouth State on Tuesday night (file photo by Jason Johns).
USM dropped a heartbreaking 3-2 decision to Plymouth State on Tuesday night (file photo by Jason Johns).

            GORHAM, Maine -- The visiting Plymouth State University Panthers rallied from two sets down to take a thrilling 3-2 (21-25, 16-25, 25-23, 26-24, 15-12) victory over the University of Southern Maine Huskies in a Little East Conference women's volleyball match Tuesday evening at the Warren Hill Gymnasium.

            The win was the fourth in the last five matches for the Panthers, and improved their record to 13-6 overall and 2-1 in the conference.  The Huskies had their seven-match winning streak snapped and fell to 12-5 overall and 1-2 in LEC play.

            USM got off to fast starts in the opening two sets and was able to keep the Panthers at bay to go up 2-0.  PSU played with the lead in the next two sets, holding off late Husky charges to square the match at 2-2.  In the decisive fifth set, the Panthers grabbed a 13-9 lead before the Huskies took three consecutive points to pull back within one.  PSU won the next two points, and the match, to dash the Huskies' bid for their first-ever win against the Panthers.

            Senior Jess Williamson (Goffstown, N.H.) picked up another double-double for USM slamming down 21 kills and digging up 14 balls.  Classmate Mo Raymond (Sanbornton, N.H./Winnisquam) also had a double-double with 10 kills and 10 digs.  Junior setter Nicole Schmitz (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham) passed out 34 assists, and senior libero Mariah Garcia (Brighton, Colo./Central) matched Williamson with 14 digs.

            Senior Claire Sporer (Medford, Ore.) paced the Panthers with 15 kills, including nine over the final two sets.  Junior Ari Linden (Lena, Ill.) had 12 kills on a .360 attack percentage (12-3-25).  Senior setter Megan Bailey (Canterbury, N.H.) orchestrated the PSU offense passing out 42 assists.  Senior Brenna Peruch (Cave Creek, Ariz.) led the Panthers with 12 digs. Peruch and Bailey each served up three service aces.

            Southern Maine looks to bounce back on Thursday (7:00 p.m.) when its travels to Salem State University for a non-conference match.  Plymouth State heads to Babson College on Saturday (11:00 a.m.) to play a tri-match with the host Beavers and Endicott College.