PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Freshman Kaleigh Chase (Wells, Maine) scored the game-winning goal with no time left on the clock Tuesday afternoon as second-seeded Plymouth State University pulled out a 2-1 victory over seventh-seeded Worcester State College in a quarterfinal game of the Little East Conference Field Hockey Tournament at Arold Field.
Chase finished off a Panther penalty corner with time winding down. Worcester State senior goalkeeper Erin MacDonald (Dedham, Mass.), who was outstanding throughout the game, especially in the second half, made the initial save, but Chase was there for the rebound. MacDonald made the save on Chase's shot, but the ball deflected off MacDonald's pad and off a Lancer defender and ended up in the back of the net for the game-winning goal. It was the seventh consecutive win for PSU and the second straight game that the Panthers have won a game with no time remaining.
The Panthers, 12-6 overall, advance to a semifinal game on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. at Arold Field against third-seeded UMass Dartmouth. The Corsairs advanced to the semifinals Tuesday evening with a 3-2 victory over sixth-seeded Westfield State College.
PSU and WSC played to a scoreless first half, with the Panthers out-shooting the Lancers 10-1. The Panthers had an excellent chance to get on the board but senior Ashley Gutowski (Conway, N.H.) was wide with a penalty stroke attempt midway through the frame.
Plymouth State dominated the second half, registering a 31-5 advantage in shots over the final 35 minutes, but had to come from behind. The Lancers actually got on the board first when senior Ginelle Blais (Marlboro, Mass.) knocked in her fifth goal of the season just three minutes into the second half.
The Panthers peppered the Lancer goal with shot after shot, but MacDonald kept the home team at bay. An apparent goal by PSU junior Morgan Lemmon (Gilford, N.H.) with 28 minutes remaining was waved off because of a dangerous play.
Lemmon came right back to tie the game for PSU four minutes later, taking a penalty corner pass from classmate Sarah Smith (Lexington, Mass.) and rifling a shot past MacDonald.
Worcester State managed to get the ball out of their own end only twice in the last 25 minutes, but appeared headed to overtime until Chase scored the game-winner with 0:00 on the clock.
MacDonald finished with 22 saves for the Lancers, who drop to 11-9. PSU freshman keeper Elyse Sedgley (Hopkinton, NH) earned the victory, making four saves.
The LEC title game is slated for Saturday at the site of the highest remaining seed, with the champion receiving an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
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