Panthers to meet Bridgewater in Sunday’s title match
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – Third-seeded Plymouth State University scored 32 seconds into the game and never relinquished the lead Saturday afternoon, defeating second-seeded Endicott College, 4-1, in the semifinals of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Field Hockey Tournament at top-seeded Bridgewater State University’s Swenson Field.
The Panthers, 13-7, advance to the championship game on Sunday at 12 noon against the top-seeded Bears (12-8), who defeated fourth-seeded New England College, 4-3, in the first semifinal. PSU is playing in the ECAC title game for the third year in a row, having lost one-goal games in the previous two (1-0 to Endicott in 2008 and 3-2 in overtime to the University of New England last year).
Sophomore Olivia Colborn (Lancaster, N.H.) gave PSU an outstanding start to the game, deflecting a shot by junior Lauren Bergeron (New Hampton, N.H.) through the goalie’s legs just 32 second after the opening whistle, her team-leading 14th goal of the season. Sophomore Molly Saunders (Center Conway, N.H.) extended the lead to 2-0 with nine minutes left in the half, hitting an open net on a one-timer from senior Kristina Conroy (Wakefield, Mass.)
Endicott got on the board with six minutes to play in the first half, Joanne Reid connecting on a shot from 18 yards out to cut the Panther advantage in half.
PSU kept the narrow 2-1 lead throughout most of the second half but could not score despite 12-2 advantage in shots. Freshman Jackie Morin (Scarborough, Maine) put the game away with a pair of unassisted goals in the final five minutes of the contest; she put in her first on a rebound with 5:13 on the clock and added the final goal, her 10th of the season, from just inside the circle with 2:34 to play.
Sophomore Hilary Lemelin (Milan, N.H.) made five saves to earn the win in goal for the Panthers. Taylor Teixeira made 10 saves for Endicott as PSU out-shot the Gulls, 17-7.
The Plymouth-Bridgewater final will be the third meeting between the schools in the past 16 days, with all three games at Swenson Field. The Bears defeated the Panthers 3-1 in the regular season finale on Oct. 30, and downed the Panthers again on Nov. 5, 2-1 in overtime, in the semifinals of the Little East Conference Tournament.
Bridgewater State captured the ECAC title in 2007, while PSU’s most recent ECAC championship is 2004.
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