PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Fifth-seeded Clark University rallied with three goals in the final 17 minutes Tuesday afternoon, and the Cougars went on to defeat fourth-seeded Plymouth State University, 3-1, in the first round of the ECAC Division III New England Field Hockey Tournament at PSU's Arold Field.
The win advances the Cougars, 12-7, into the semifinals on Saturday against the winner of the contest between top-seeded Keene State and eighth-seeded Becker College. Plymouth State, which was making its fourth straight post-season appearance, completes the season at 12-7.
After a scoreless first half, freshman Melanie Bates (Derry, N.H.) put PSU on the board just three minutes into the second half. It was the 12th goal of the season for Bates, and was assisted by senior Whitney Swaffield (Wolfeboro, N.H.).
Clark finally got on the board with 17:09 remaining as junior Ashley Perez (Worcester, Mass.) notched her fourth of the season with senior Jessica Petitt (Hatfield, Mass.) picking up her team-leading 10th assist. Four and a half minutes later the Cougars took a 2-1 lead when freshman Jill Clough (Charlton, Mass.) found the net for her fourth of the season, with junior Jill Barnes (Barre, Mass.) assisting.
The Panther had a golden opportunity to tie the game with eight minutes remaining, but a penalty stroke by Swaffield went wide right. A minute later freshman Kim Whittington (Stoughton, Mass.) added an insurance goal for Clark, with Petitt picking up her second assist, and that was the game.
Clark finished with a 13-10 advantage in shots. Cougar freshman goalie Kaitlin Kelley (Guilford, Conn.) made 10 saves, while senior Kerry Brady (Jefferson, N.H.) finished with eight saves in the Panther net.
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