Conroy leads Panthers into semifinals
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Senior Kristina Conroy (Wakefield, Mass.) recorded a goal and an assist Tuesday afternoon at chilly Arold Field as third-seeded Plymouth State University defeated sixth-seeded University of Southern Maine, 2-1, in the opening round of the 2010 Little East Conference Field Hockey Tournament.
All of the scoring came in the first half and the defenses took over after the break. PSU held on for the victory to improve to 12-6 overall, while USM has its season come to an end at 8-13 overall. The Panthers advance to the LEC semifinals on Thursday, when they will travel to second-seeded Bridgewater State University for a 6:00 p.m. contest. The championship game is Saturday at the site of the highest remaining seed.
Shots were hard to come by for both teams the entire game, PSU finishing with just nine shots and USM seven. Plymouth State allowed only one shot in the second half to preserve the victory. Sophomore goalie Hilary Lemelin (Milan, N.H.) made five saves to earn the win in the Panther goal, and each team had a field player make a defensive save – freshman Aisha Rai Thompson (Berlin, N.H.) for PSU in the first half and junior Bethany Bougie (Sanford, Maine) for USM in the second half.
Southern Maine had two good scoring chances early in the first half, but Lemelin made a pair of point-blank-range stops on sophomore Kailey Bubier (Auburn, Maine).
PSU broke through 14 minutes into the contest when Conroy fired a shot from just inside the circle, and sophomore Olivia Colborn (Lancaster, N.H.) deflected the ball in front of the cage into the goal for her team-leading 13th goal of the year. The Huskies needed only a minute and 21 seconds to score the equalizer, as junior Amy Richardson (Standish, Maine) deflected a shot by junior Bethany Bougie (Sanford, Maine) to even the match at 1-1 at the 15:13 mark.
Conroy put the Panthers ahead to stay with five minutes remaining in the first half. Junior Lauren Bergeron (New Hampton, N.H.) dribbled in from the left side and sent a diagonal pass to Conroy on the right side, and she knocked in her 10th of the season to put PSU up 2-1 at the break.
The Panthers finished with a 5-1 margin in shots for the second half. Bougie made a nice play to save a goal for USM when she swept a loose ball off the goal line before it crossed the line.
It was the second one-goal victory for PSU over the Huskies this season. The Panthers nipped USM in overtime on Oct. 20 in Gorham, Maine, 3-2.
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