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It’s LEC Tourney week for three PSU athletic teams

Women’s Lax #1 seed, Softball #2 seed; Men’s Lax #4 seed

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Little East Conference (LEC) 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 among those competing for conference championships.

            The Panther WOMEN’S LACROSSE team completed its second consecutive unbeaten LEC schedule (6-0) this spring to earn the No. 1 seed in this week’s tournament.  Winners of eight in a row and sporting a 12-2 overall record, PSU receives a first-round bye and will host a semifinal contest at Arold Field this Friday, May 3,  at 3:30 p.m. against the winner of Tuesday’s first-round game between #4 Western Connecticut State University and #5 Eastern Connecticut State University.  With a victory in Friday’s game, PSU would host the LEC Championship game on Sunday, May 5, at 1:00 p.m.

            PSU was the No. 1 seed a year ago and was upset in the semifinals by fifth-seeded Western Connecticut, 10-9.

            The LEC women’s lacrosse tournament has had four different champions in its 11-year history.  Plymouth State won titles in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006; Eastern Conn. claimed the championship in 2005, 2007 and 2008; Keene State won crowns in 2009, 2011, and 2012, and the University of Southern Maine captured its only title in 2010.

            The Panther MEN’S LACROSSE team will open play in the LEC Tournament with a first-round home game on Tuesday, Apr. 30, at 3:30 p.m. at Panther Field.  The Panthers, 8-4 overall, finished in a tie for third place in the conference with a 4-3 mark, and earned the fourth seed in this week’s tournament.  PSU will host fifth-seeded University of Massachusetts Boston (6-11, 3-4 LEC) on Tuesday; PSU defeated the Beacons, 15-4, in Holderness, N.H., on Mar. 30.

            PSU was the six-seed in 2012 and upset third-seeded Western Connecticut in the first round, 9-5, before falling to second-seeded Keene State in the semifinals.

            The LEC men’s lacrosse tournament has had just three different champions in its 12 years – Eastern Connecticut with seven titles, Keene State with four, and Western Connecticut with one.  Eastern Conn. captured last year’s championship after Keene State had won the previous two.

            The Panther SOFTBALL team, 24-15 overall, finished in second place in the LEC during the regular season with a 9-5 mark to match the 2002 Panthers for the highest conference finish in program history. PSU is the second seed in the double-elimination tourney, which will be hosted by top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University, and will meet fifth-seeded Rhode Island College in Game 2 Thursday at 2:00 p.m.  RIC was the only LEC team to sweep Plymouth State this season, winning 4-3 in eight innings and 11-3 in Providence on Apr. 6.

            PSU was the #4 seed a year ago and upset third-seeded RIC in the first game, 9-8, but got eliminated with shutout losses to #2 Keene State and #5 Western Connecticut in its next two outings.

            Eastern Conn. has won its first three LEC Softball Championships the past three years, following a streak of four in a row by Rhode Island College (2006-09).  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 BASEBALL playoffs are still a week away.  PSU wraps up the regular season with a single non-conference game Wednesday at Middlebury College and an LEC doubleheader Friday at Panther Park against Rhode Island College (12 noon).

            The LEC Champion in all sports receives an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III National Championships. 

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