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It’s LEC Tournament week for PSU athletic teams

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Little East Conference men's and women's lacrosse and softball tournaments take place this week on campuses around New England, and the three Plymouth State University teams will be competing for conference championships and additional post-season berths.

            The Panther MEN’S LACROSSE team will begin action for the week, hosting the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in a first-round game on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. Panther Field.  The Panthers, 7-7 overall, finished the regular season in a tie with Western Connecticut State University for third place in the LEC with 4-3 marks.  WestConn earned the tiebreaker over PSU based on head-to-head play, giving the Panthers the fourth seed and the right to host fifth-seeded UMD.  PSU defeated the Corsairs on Apr. 24 in Plymouth, 15-4.

            Third-seeded WestConn will host sixth-seeded Salem State College in Tuesday’s other first-round game.  The PSU-UMD winner will travel to top-seeded Keene State College on Thursday for one semifinal contest, while the WCSU-SSC winner visits second-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University for the other semifinal.  The two semifinal winners will meet on Saturday at the highest remaining seed for the LEC championship.

            The LEC men’s lacrosse tournament has had difference champions the past three years – Keene State in 2007, Western Connecticut in 2008 and Eastern Connecticut last season.           

            The Panther WOMEN’S LACROSSE team finished in a three-way tie for first place in the LEC regular season race, capturing a share of the conference crown for the first time since winning five in a row from 2002-06.  Co-champions PSU (10-4 overall), Keene State (12-4) and Eastern Connecticut (7-9) all finished with 5-1 conference marks.  KSC and PSU are seeded 1-2, respectively, after the LEC tiebreaker was applied and receive first-round byes, while third-seeded Eastern Conn. and fourth-seeded Western Connecticut will host first-round games on Tuesday.

            Plymouth State will host one semifinal game on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at Arold Field, meeting the winner of Tuesday’s game between Eastern Conn. and sixth-seeded UMass Dartmouth. Keene State will host the other semifinal against the winner of the first-round game between Western Conn. and fifth-seeded Southern Maine.  The two semifinal winners will meet on Saturday at the highest remaining seed for the LEC championship.

            The LEC women’s lacrosse tournament has had three champions in its eight-year history.  Plymouth State won titles in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006; Eastern Conn. claimed the championship in 2005, 2007 and 2008, and Keene State won its first crown last season. 

            The Panther SOFTBALL team earned its spot in the LEC Tournament on the final day of the regular season, splitting a doubleheader Sunday afternoon at Western Connecticut.  PSU, 13-20 overall, tied for sixth with UMass Boston with 5-9 conference marks but the Panthers won the LEC tiebreaker to claim the final spot in the playoffs.

            Eastern Connecticut (28-4-1 overall, 13-1 LEC) captured the LEC regular season title and is the top seed in this week’s tournament, but is without a home field this year and cannot host the LEC Tournament.  Second-seeded Keene State (23-12-1, 10-4) will serve as host of the double-elimination event, which begins on Thursday in Keene.  Top-seeded Eastern Conn. will meet sixth-seeded Plymouth State in the first game at 10:00 a.m.

            Rhode Island College, this year’s fourth seed, is the four-time defending LEC softball tournament champion.  Keene State has also won four LEC softball titles (1999, 2000, 2003, 2005) and WestConn three (2001, 2002, 2004).  Southern Maine captured the first LEC softball tournament crown in 1998.

            The LEC champions in all sports receive automatic berths into the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournaments.

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