GORHAM, Maine - Junior Alyssa Kraus (Standish, Maine) scored the game-winning goal in the fifth minute of overtime Thursday afternoon to lift the University of Southern Maine to a 3-2 victory against Plymouth State University in a semifinal game of the Little East Conference Field Hockey Tournament at Paula D. Hodgdon Field.
The second-seeded Huskies advance to the LEC championship game for the first time since 2003 and improve to 15-6 overall. The third-seeded Panthers drop to 10-8 overall and will await announcement of a possible post-season berth. Southern Maine will meet top-seeded Keene State College in the title game this Saturday in Keene, as the Owls defeated fourth-seeded Bridgewater State College in the other semifinal game Thursday in Keene.
Kraus picked up her fourth game-winning goal of the season when she collected a deflected ball in the circle and tapped it into the cage in the 75th minute. Kraus' goal came after the Huskies' third penalty corner of the contest. USM junior Anna Pease (Gorham, Maine) initiated play with a blocked shot that bounced in front of the cage before a hustling Kraus took advantage of the opportunity.
Plymouth State scored the first goal of the game midway through the first half on a breakaway by sophomore Kerry D'Ambroise (Lowell, Mass.). D'Ambroise broke through the USM defense in the 27th minute, and the lead would stand through the half.
USM tied the score up two minutes into the second half when senior Caitlin Albert (Scarborough, Maine) redirected a pass from sophomore Cristina Corson (Naples, Maine) in the 37th minute. The goal was Albert's seventh of the season.
Plymouth State regained its one-goal advantage in the 53rd minute when freshman Betsy Renault (Penacook, N.H./Merrimack Valley) blasted in an unassisted strike. The Panthers clung to the 2-1 lead over the next 10 minutes before Corson forced the overtime session with her third goal of the season with just over five minutes to play.
Both teams had solid chances in the overtime period with each team being awarded a penalty corner, before Kraus' game-winner.
USM sophomore goalkeeper Allie Hill (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) made five saves to earn the win, including a diving stop late in the second half to preserve the tie. Plymouth State senior goalkeeper Leah Curtin (Londonderry, N.H.) made one save in the loss.
(Courtesy of Southern Maine Sports Information)
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