PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Senior Ashley Gutowski (Conway, N.H.) and junior Sammi Romano (Kingston, N.H./Sanborn Regional) recorded a goal and an assist each Wednesday afternoon to lead second-seeded Plymouth State University to a 4-1 victory over seventh-seeded Framingham State College in a quarterfinal game of the ECAC New England Field Hockey Tournament at Arold Field.
Sophomore Kristina Conroy (Wakefield, Mass.) added a pair of second-half insurance goals for the Panthers, who won for the ninth time in their last 10 outings to improve to 14-7 overall. Framingham State gave a strong effort but saw its season come to an end with a 10-9 overall mark.
The Panthers move on to Saturday's semifinal contest and will host third-seeded Westfield State College (12-7) at 1:00 p.m. at Arold Field. The Owls earned a berth in the semifinals with a 4-0 win Wednesday over sixth-seeded Becker College. Fourth-seeded Saint Joseph's College of Maine knocked off fifth-seeded Worcester State College, 2-0, in Wednesday's other quarterfinal and will travel to top-seeded Endicott College for Saturday's semifinal. The championship game is slated for Sunday at the site of the highest remaining seed.
Gutowski wasted little time in putting the Panthers on the board, redirecting a diagonal shot from the top of the circle by freshman Kaleigh Chase (Wells, Maine). It was Gutowski's 14th goal of the season and came just 2:28 into the contest. Gutowski then made a nice individual play to set up the next Panther goal, as she and Romano broke through the Rams defense and Romano finished off the play with her sixth goal of the year with 11:12 on the clock. That gave the Panthers a 2-0 lead at halftime.
Framingham State continued to challenge and got on the scoreboard 11 minutes into the second half. Sophomore Kristen Sacco (Mendon, Mass.) was near the left post and she redirected a pass from the top of the circle from freshman Kayleigh Force (Leominster, Mass.). It was Sacco's 15th goal of the season.
It was still a close game until Conroy scored twice in the last 10 minutes to clinch the win for the home team. The first came with 9:09 remaining, with an assist from Romano, and the final goal came off a rebound with 4:29 left to play. Conroy now has 12 goals on the season.
PSU finished with a 23-9 advantage in shots. PSU freshman keeper Elyse Sedgley (Hopkinton, N.H.) made three saves to earn the win, while sophomore Allesha Kenyon (Westford, Mass.) recorded 10 saves for the Rams.
Plymouth State's semifinal game against Westfield State on Saturday is a rematch of the Oct. 11 contest, when the Owls defeated the Panthers in Westfield, 3-2.
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