Softball #1 seed, Women's Lax #2 seed, Men's Lax #3 seed
(UPDATE: The LEC Softball Tournament at Plymouth State University has been changed, and will now begin Thursday, May 4. There are games scheduled for 10 a.m., 12 noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. at PSU's D&M Park.)
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Little East Conference (LEC) softball and men's and women's lacrosse tournaments take place this week on campuses around New England, and three Plymouth State University teams will be among those competing for conference championships.
The Panther SOFTBALL team, 20-15-1 overall, earned the No. 1 seed in the LEC Tournament after finishing in a four-way tie for first place in the regular season standings, all with 8-6 conference records. The Panthers, who were also regular season co-champions in 2014, won the tiebreaker over Eastern Connecticut State University, the University of Massachusetts Boston and Western Connecticut State University to earn the top seed for the first time in program history.
The top-seeded Panthers will host sixth-seeded Keene State College in a first-round game on Tuesday, May 2, at 4:00 p.m. at D&M Park in the double-elimination tournament. Then all six teams will converge on Plymouth State this Friday-Saturday-Sunday, May 5-7, to complete the tournament. PSU split two games with Keene State last Thursday, the Owls taking the opener 4-3 and Panthers winning the nightcap, 2-1.
PSU enters the tournament as the top seed after missing out on the post-season last year and being picked to finish seventh in this year's preseason coaches poll. The LEC has had three different softball champions the last three years --- Keene State in 2014, Eastern Connecticut in 2015 and Western Connecticut last season.
The Panther WOMEN'S LACROSSE team, 9-3 overall, finished in second place in the regular season with a 5-1 mark. PSU's only loss came in the regular season finale last Saturday to Eastern Connecticut, 9-8, giving Warriors (13-4, 6-0) the top seed. The Panthers receive a first-round bye on Tuesday, and will host a semifinal game on Thursday at Arold Field at 4:00 p.m.; PSU will meet the winner of Tuesday's first-round game between #3 Keene State College (6-10, 4-2 LEC) and #6 the University of Southern Maine (7-8, 1-5 LEC).
PSU was the No. 4 seed a year ago and advanced to the championship game with victories over #5 UMass Dartmouth, 12-8, and #4 Eastern Connecticut, 13-12. The Panthers were defeated in the title game at No. 2 seeded Keene State, 11-8.
The LEC women's lacrosse tournament has had four different champions in its 15-year history, led by Plymouth State and Keene State with five each. PSU won its five titles in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2014; Keene State won crowns in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016; Eastern Conn. claimed its four championships in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2013; and the University of Southern Maine captured its only title in 2010.
The Panther MEN'S LACROSSE team, 8-7 overall, will open play in the LEC Tournament with a first-round home game on Tuesday, May 2, at 4:30 p.m. at Currier Field. The third-seeded Panthers finished in a tie for third place in the conference with Eastern Connecticut (7-9 overall), both with 4-3 marks, but PSU earned the No. 3 seed based on a head-to-head win over the Warriors (16-10 on Apr. 15). PSU will host sixth-seeded Western Connecticut State University (7-8, 3-4 LEC) on Tuesday; PSU lost to the Colonials, 16-11, in the regular season finale last Friday in Danbury, Conn.
PSU is hosting a home LEC playoff game for the third year in a row. The Panthers were the third seed last year and knocked off sixth-seeded Southern Maine at home in the first round, 11-3, but suffered a heart-breaking 15-14 setback at Eastern Connecticut in the semifinals.
The LEC men's lacrosse tournament has had just three different champions in its 16 years – Eastern Connecticut with eight titles, Keene State with seven, and Western Connecticut with one. Keene State has captured the last three championships, defeating Eastern Conn. in the final each time.
The Panther BASEBALL team wraps up its regular season this week with three non-conference games on Tuesday and Wednesday, and a Little East Conference doubleheader on Friday against Rhode Island College (12 noon). The LEC Baseball Tournament begins next Wednesday, May 10.
The LEC Champion in all sports receives an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III National Championships.
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