PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Junior Morgan Lemmon (Gilford, N.H./Bishop Brady) scored one goal and assisted on two others Sunday afternoon as second-seeded Plymouth State University defeated third-seeded Westfield State College, 5-1, in a semifinal game of the ECAC New England Field Hockey Tournament at Arold Field.
The Panthers (15-7) advance to the tournament championship game on Tuesday at Endicott College (17-5). The top-seeded Gulls moved on to the final on Saturday with a 1-0 victory over fourth-seeded Saint Joseph's College of Maine. The PSU-Westfield State game was moved back a day because of inclement weather and field conditions. The Owls complete their season with a 12-8 overall record.
Plymouth State got on the board first when senior Ashley Gutowski (Conway, N.H.) was awarded a penalty stroke 10 minutes into the game, and she rifled a shot into the left-hand side of the net for a 1-0 lead. It was Gutowski's 15th goal of the season and third on a penalty stroke.
Gutowski appeared to make it a 2-0 game 10 minutes later, but the goal was waved off because the ball deflected off Gutowski's body. PSU did manage to make it a 2-0 game with less than 10 minutes left in the first half when sophomore Courtney McLaughlin (Bellingham, Mass.) scored, with an assist from Gutowski.
Westfield, which had several scoring opportunities in the first half, finally broke through with 14 minutes left in the second half, cutting the Panther lead in half. Sophomore Alicia Gardner (Athol, Mass.) converted a ball from senior Vicky Winson (Upton, Mass.) from near the left post to pull the Owls to within a goal.
The Panthers pulled away in the final 10 minutes of the game. Lemmon set up junior Cortney Colligan (Brookfield, N.H.) for a shot and a goal from the top of the circle with 10 minutes remaining, and Lemmon made it 4-1 with a goal with 3:28 left. After a timeout for an injured PSU player, sophomore Kristina Conroy (Wakefield, Mass.) rounded out the scoring for the Panthers with 1:45 on the clock.
Both goalies made some outstanding saves, as Westfield State freshman Amanda McCarthy (Franklin, Mass.) finished with 18 saves, including 13 in the second half, and PSU freshman keeper Elyse Sedgley (Hopkinton, N.H.) made eight saves.
Plymouth State evened the score with Westfield State, as the Owls had defeated the Panthers during the regular season, 3-2, at Westfield o Oct. 11.
The Panthers, who are playing in the ECAC Tournament for the 13th time since 1983, will be seeking their third championship on Tuesday at Endicott. The previous ECAC titles came in 1987 and 2004. Plymouth State opened this season with a 4-2 non-conference loss at Endicott back on Sept. 6.
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