PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Senior Megan Fournier (East Waterboro, Maine) scored three goals Wednesday at Arold Field, leading Plymouth State College to a 5-0 triumph over Gordon College in the first round of the NCAA Division III Field Hockey Tournament.
The victory, Plymouth State's 12th in a row and seventh straight by shutout, advances the Panthers (15-4) to a second-round game this Saturday (Nov. 3) at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. PSC will face SUNY Cortland (15-2) in the 2:00 p.m. game, following the 11 a.m. contest between Williams (11-4) and Rowan (13-3). Saturday's winners face each other Sunday at 1 p.m. in the national quarterfinals. Gordon, the Commonwealth Coast Conference champion, completes its season at 15-3.
PSC senior Sacha Jackson (Sangerville, Maine) put the Panthers on the board first, finishing off a scramble in front with her seventh goal of the season with 11:30 to play in the first half. Classmate Sarah Lynch (Belgrade Lakes, Maine) knocked in her third of the season with 3:41 left in the half, and Fournier scored on a penalty stroke to make it a 3-0 PSC lead by halftime. Fournier added two more goals in the second half to improve her team-leading total to 16. The first was assisted by junior Melanie McAvey (Grafton, Mass.) and the final goal was assisted by Lynch.
PSC finished with an 18-11 advantage in shots on goal. Gordon keeper Brianna Riddell (Newark, Del.) was credited with 11 saves. Panther sophomore goalies Ellen Ward (Thorndike, Maine) and Kerry Brady (Jefferson, N.H.) combined on PSC's ninth shutout, with Ward making nine saves and Brady one. The Panthers, making their second straight NCAA appearance and fifth in school history, registered the first NCAA Tournament victory since the 1994 squad won its first round game.
PSC will face a Cortland team Saturday that is ranked No. 1 in Division III by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association. PSC earned its NCAA berth by winning its second straight Little East Conference Championship.