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PSU blanks Babson in ECAC Field Hockey Semifinal


- Senior Amanda Gutowski (Conway, N.H.) scored a pair of goals Saturday afternoon at Arold Field to lead top-seeded Plymouth State University to a 3-0 victory over fourth-seeded Babson College in a semifinal game of the 2004 ECAC New England Division III Field Hockey Tournament.

            The Panthers, who won for the 11th time in their last 12 outings, improve to 17-4 overall, while Babson completes its season at 14-9.  The 17 wins for Plymouth State equals the single-season school record, which was set in 1993 (17-1) and matched in 2002 (17-2).

            PSU advances and will host the ECAC New England Tournament championship game, although the opponent, date and time are not known.  The other semifinal game, featuring second-seeded Wellesley College hosting sixth-seeded Clark University, was postponed Saturday due to snow in Massachusetts, and has been tentatively rescheduled for Sunday.  PSU will host the winner of that semifinal on the next date available for both teams.

            Plymouth State carried much of the play against Babson, finishing with a 24-2 advantage in shots on goal.  PSU freshman goalie Katie Randall (Portsmouth, N.H.) needed to make just two saves to record her fourth shutout of the season.  Senior Lacey Johnson (Acton, Mass.) made eight saves for the Beavers.

            Junior Katie Kovacs (Hampton, N.H.) gave PSU the only goal its would need, redirecting a pass from sophomore Melanie Bates (Derry, N.H.) midway through the first half.  Gutowski picked up the ball out of a scramble in front and potted her first of the game with 5:24 to play in the first half, giving the Panthers a 2-0 advantage at the break.

            Gutowski added an insurance goal, her second of the game and 16th of the season, less than five minutes into the second half.

            The Panther defense was stingy, surrendering only two shots and keeping Babson's leading scorer, junior Elise Conley (Shrewsbury, Mass.), who scored 30 goals this season, off the board.

            PSU is making its 10th appearance in the ECAC Field Hockey Tournament, and is seeking its second championship and first since 1987.

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