PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The stage is now set and the teams determined for this weekend's Little East Conference Field Hockey Championships, hosted by Plymouth State College at Arold Field.
The top-seeded Panthers, who received a bye in Tuesday's opening round after capturing the LEC regular season title, will play the second semi-final game Friday (Oct. 27) at 2:30 p.m. against fifth-seeded Worcester State. The Lancers earned the right to play PSC with a 1-0 upset victory over fourth-seeded Westfield State on Tuesday.
The first semi-final on Friday at 12 noon matches second-seeded Southern Maine against third-seeded Keene State. The Huskies pulled out an overtime decision on penalty strokes against UMass Dartmouth in Tuesday's opening round, and the Owls were 2-0 winners over Fitchburg State.
Plymouth State has had a very successful season to date under interim head coach Bonnie Lord. After dropping the first three games of the season, the Panthers rattled off 13 consecutive victories before a 2-0 loss at St. Michael's last Sunday, the longest winning streak at PSC since winning 17 in a row in 1993.
The Panthers bring a 13-4 record into the tournament, having captured the LEC regular season crown with a perfect 10-0 mark. PSC downed Worcester State 4-1 last Saturday in Plymouth, defeated Southern Maine 3-0 in Gorham, Maine on Sept. 27th, and edged Keene State 2-1 at home on Sept. 23rd.
"We're very happy and proud of our success during the regular season, and how much work our players have put in," said Lord. "But our season is far from over. We feel very confident going into this weekend, and are hoping for a great turnout. We would like nothing more than to earn Plymouth State's first NCAA Tournament bid since 1994."
The Panthers use a balanced offensive attack, led by the junior Megan Fournier (East Waterboro, Maine) and seniors Kerri Tarpy (Biddeford, Maine) and Courtney O'Sullivan (East Kingston, N.H.). Fournier and Tarpy have eight goals apiece and O'Sullivan has added seven. Juniors Sacha Jackson (Sangerville, Maine) and Sarah Lynch (Belgrade Lakes, Maine) have chipped in with six and five goals, respectively, and senior Danielle Cardin (Southampton, Mass.) is also a solid contributor in the midfield.
The defense is anchored by freshman goalie Ellen Ward (Thorndike, Maine). She has enjoyed a terrific season, allowing only seven goals in 15 games. She leads the LEC with a 0.72 goals against average and seven shutouts. Ward has a strong defensive unit in front of her, led by freshman sweeper Whitney Swaffield (Wolfeboro, NH) and sophomore backs Kristle Wheeler (Brandon, Vt.), Marushka Eddy (Nantucket, Mass.) and Jill Matteson (Chatham, Mass.).