(Courtesy of Plymouth State Sports Information)
Little East Conference Tournament - First Round
#3 Plymouth State Advances, Downs #6 Southern Maine 3-0
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 Eastern Connecticut State University in the semifinal round on Thursday (7 p.m.). Southern Maine's 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.
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.
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.
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.