KEENE, N.H.--The Little East Conference tournament begins this week, and with it, the quarterfinal round that pits No. 3 seed Keene State College against No. 6 seed Plymouth State at 7 p.m. in Spaulding Gym on October 30.
Keene State comes in at 20-9 overall, and 5-3 in the Little East Conference. The Owls finished in a three way tie for third place with Western Connecticut State and Rhode Island College, but earned the No. 3 seed by virtue of their 3-0 win over Eastern Connecticut State on September 15. The Panthers, meanwhile, enter as the No. 6 seed with an 11-19 overall record and a 3-5 mark in conference play. Plymouth State was tied with Southern Maine in the LEC standings, but earned the tiebreaker with their 3-1 win over the Huskies on October 2.
Keene State head coach Bob Weiner is in his 14th season on the Owls' sideline, and has led them to the LEC tournament in every season. The Owls won their lone tournament title in 2008, while also reaching the final in 2005, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2017. PSU head coach Joan Forge is in her first season afte years as a successful high school coach in New Hampshire.
The Keene State offense is led by sophomores Megan Palmer and Bailey Wilson. Outside hitter Palmer has a team high 295 kills and hits .212. Wilson has 852 assists, 198 digs, and 27 service aces. Defensively, KSC is led by 2017 LEC Defensive Player of the Year Riley Bunker, who has 521 digs and set a KSC record for career digs earlier this year, and Niamh Dodd, who has 54 total blocks.
Junior Alexis Bowers tops the PSU charts with 193 kills, while Ari Linden has 185 kills and is hitting .242. Bowers also leads the team in digs with 315, and Linden does the same with blocks with 69.
The Earlier Matchup
Keene State defeated Plymouth State 3-1 on September 25. Palmer had 14 kills and hit .297, while Dodd had 10 kills and Kelly Hunt also had 10.
The Rest of the Tournament
The winner of this matchup plays No. 2 seed UMass Boston on Friday, November 2, at Eastern Connecticut State. The other quarterfinal sees No. 4 seeded Western Connecticut State host No. 5 seed Rhode Island College on Tuesday night. The winner of that will play the host Warriors in Friday's other semifinal. The semifinal winners will meet in the championship on Saturday, November 3.