PLYMOUTH, N.H. – For the second straight year the Panthers of Plymouth State University (14-16, 3-3 Little East) had volleyball's number as they handed the Beacons (15-8, 6-1 Little East) their first conference loss of the season as they edged the Beacons by the final of 3-2 Tuesday evening at Foley Gymnasium in the final Little East Conference regular season match for both teams.
Even with the loss, the Beacons remain atop the conference standings and will host the semi-final and championship round of the conference tournament next Saturday and Sunday at Quincy High School. Last season the Panthers stunned the Beacons at home ending UMB's regular season home win streak. In Tuesday's match, the Beacons jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but it was Plymouth State that would have the final say as they recorded the final three wins to end the Beacons run at perfection for the second straight year.
In the first set, UMB earned a 25-19 victory, while in the second the Beacons cruised to a 25-18 win. Plymouth State would win the final three sets by a combined nine points, first taking a 25-21 victory in the third. They then notched a 25-23 decision in the fourth and finally a 15-12 win in the fifth to clinch the victory.
Despite the loss the Beacons as whole combined to hit .252 on the night. Plymouth State was just as strong as they hit .244 in the conference match. Casey Stoodley led the Panthers to the win with 21 kills, while Shannon Thompson (Moorpark, Calif.) finished with a team-high 17 kills. Kirsten Morrison (North Reading, Mass.) was the only other player to finish in double-figures as she the sophomore posted 11 kills on the night.
Freshman Molly Witzmann (Encinitas, Calif.) posted a match-high .444 attack percentage as she went 8-for-18 on the night. Defensively the Panthers had four players finish in double-figures in digs, while for UMB it was Kayla Wilson (San Jose, Calif.) who put-up a match-high 14 digs. At the net the two teams exchanged blocks all night, but in the end it was UMass Boston who finished with one solo block and 20 block assists. Plymouth State finished with 10 block assists of their own.
Volleyball returns to action on Friday when they face Washington and Lee University in Atlanta, Georgia as part of the Emory University National Invitational. Start time is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.