Middlebury claimed the back-and-forth opening set and cruised sets two and three, easing past host Plymouth State by scores of 25-21, 25-14 and 25-9 on Tuesday evening in the John C. Foley Gymnasium. The Panthers (3-1) return to the court Friday when they open NESCAC action with a 7:00 p.m. home match against Amherst.
The opening set was back and forth during the early stages. Middlebury gained its largest lead of the frame at 16-10 on a setting error from Plymouth State (6-4). The hosts clawed their way back to within two at 19-17 on a kill from Allie Rogers. Following small runs from each team, Middlebury clung to a four-point edge (23-19) on a kill by Corley Doyle. The sides exchanged points before a kill from Isabel Sessions gave the visitors the opening set.
In the second set, the visitors jumped out to an early 5-1 lead. Plymouth State battled back to pull within one at 13-12, but Middlebury rattled off 12 of the final 14 points for a two-set advantage. Maggie Wise had three kills during the run, while Sessions and Sarah Staver each had two.
The final set saw the teams exchange the first six points, but Middlebury put together a 9-0 run and was never challenged again the remainder of the set to complete the sweep.
Sessions paced the balanced Middlebury offense, finishing with a match-best total of 12 kills on 24 attempts with one error for a .458 hitting percentage. Wise ended her first collegiate match with nine kills on 11 attempts with no errors for an .818 hitting percentage, while Doyle chipped in with seven kills and a .636 hitting percentage in her initial match.
As a team, the Panthers hit an impressive .361 (46-11-97) for the match, including a sparkling .538 (16-2-26) in the third set.
Plymouth State was led by Ari Linden with five kills, while Alisha Flanagan tacked on four. Kennedy Mang tallied a team-high 10 assists, while Alexis Bowers had eight digs.