Women's Lacrosse to host Final Four; Men's Lax, Softball on the road
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – It's championship week in the Little East Conference (LEC) for three Plymouth State University spring sports teams.
The Panthers' women's lacrosse team claimed its second straight regular season title after posting a perfect 7-0 conference mark to clinch the top seed and earn home field advantage for the Final Four.
Meanwhile, men's lacrosse and softball both finished second in the final regular season standings. The men's lacrosse team will play in the Final Four at Keene State College, while softball heads to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth for its double-elimination tournament.
Complete coverage of all PSU postseason action is available through the LEC Network (littleeast.tv).
Under third year head coach Sandy Bridgeman, the women's lacrosse team (9-5, 7-0 LEC) bulked up its non-conference schedule this spring, facing four nationally ranked opponents, to help prepare for the Little East slate. The plan worked, as PSU cruised through the conference schedule to notch a second straight unbeaten regular season, outscoring opponents by a whopping 102-41 margin. The Panthers easily led the league in scoring defense (5.86 goals per game), while sporting one of the top scoring offenses as well (14.57).
Plymouth State earned a record 11th regular season title and enters the tournament as the top seed for the ninth time since the LEC first sponsored the sport in 2002. The two-time defending tournament champions will host the Final Four format starting with the semifinal round on Friday (May 3). Plymouth State is set to face fourth-seeded Keene State College at 1:00 p.m. PSU topped the Owls at Keene on Apr. 23 by a 15-11 score.
The second semifinal, set for 4:00 p.m., features second-seeded University of Southern Maine and third-seeded Western Connecticut State University. The winners will meet in Saturday's (May 4) title game at 1:00 p.m. All three contests will take place at Arold Field.
PSU is playing for its eighth tournament championship. The Panthers have appeared in 11 of the 17 championship games, including each of the last five, and won the title in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2014, 2017 and 2018.
Under the guidance of 11th year head coach Gordon Webb the men's lacrosse team (7-7, 6-2 LEC) started slowly, going just 1-4 over the first five games. But the Panthers opened conference play with a thrilling 15-14 win over WestConn on Mar. 30 to jumpstart the year. PSU went 6-3 through the rest of the regular season, which included a program-best six conference wins. The Panthers ended conference play in second place, matching best conference finish ever, and enters the tournament as the second seed – the highest ever. Plymouth State finished conference play with the second best scoring offense (13.88) and third best scoring defense (10.13) in the league.
After earning a bye into the semifinals, the Panthers have now reached the final four in 11 of the last 12 years. PSU is seeking its first appearance in championship game since the 2008 season. Standing in the way is sixth-seeded University of Massachusetts Boston, which upset No. 3 WestConn in first round action on Tuesday. The two will square off at 7:00 p.m. on Friday (May 3) with the game being played at top-seeded Keene State. PSU topped the Beacons in Boston by a 15-9 score on Apr. 20. The two teams have met in each of the last two postseasons, with the Panthers coming out victorious last spring.
Keene State will face fourth-seeded University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in Friday's first semifinal (4:00 p.m.), with the two winners set to meet in the finals on Saturday (May 4) at 1:00 p.m.
Plymouth State is seeking its first tournament title.
The softball team's fate came down to the final game of the regular season. Plymouth State (20-16, 11-5 LEC) needed UMass Dartmouth to drop both games of its double header with WestConn to clinch the regular season title and host the entirety of the LEC tournament for a third straight year, but the Corsairs won game two to leave PSU as the second seed.
The Panthers, led by 16-year head coach Bruce Addison, have advanced to the championship game of the double-elimination tournament each of the past two seasons, falling to the University of Massachusetts Boston both times. Those same two teams will square off in game two of the tournament on Thursday (May 2) at 12:00 p.m. Plymouth State used a pair of sixth inning rallies to sweep the Beacons in Boston on Apr. 24, taking game one 4-2 and the night cap 6-2.
PSU finished the regular season near the top of the league in multiple categories, including batting average (.302), hits (127), doubles (25), RBI (65), ERA (3.03), K/7 (3.77) and runs allowed (52).
Plymouth State is seeking its first softball championship.
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