Panthers looking for repeat in Sunday's title game
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Top-seeded Plymouth State University scored two goals in the first seven minutes and never looked back Saturday afternoon, defeating fourth-seeded Bridgewater State University, 4-1, in the semifinals of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Field Hockey Tournament at PSU's Arold Field.
Freshman Nikki Garvey led the Panthers with a pair of goals, including the first one less than two minutes into the game that helped set the tone. Senior Lauren Bergeron added a goal and an assist as PSU improved to 18-3 on the season.
PSU advances to the ECAC title game on Sunday at 12 noon at Arold Field, when they will have the opportunity to defend their 2010 championship. The Panthers will meet third-seeded Mount Holyoke College after the Lyons outlasted second-seeded University of New England in the second semifinal contest in double overtime, 2-1. BSU concludes its season at 13-7.
Plymouth State needed less than two minutes to get on the scoreboard. Sophomore Jackie Morin got a shot past the BSU goalie but junior Mattie Burke made a defensive save along the goal line. Garvey was there for PSU to knock in the rebound for her 12th goal of the season.
PSU worked a play off a penalty corner to score again just six minutes later. Bergeron received the ball and passed across the top of the circle to Morin, who continued the ball around the horn to junior Olivia Colborn near the far left post. Colborn rifled home her 14th goal of the season to give PSU a 2-0 lead just 7:25 into the game.
Bergeron extended PSU's margin to 3-0 with 12 minutes remaining in the half, weaving through traffic and firing a low shot from just inside the circle that snuck inside the left goal post. The Bears got some pressure on the Panther goal in the closing minutes of the half but PSU junior goalie Hilary Lemelin made a nice save from point-blank range on BSU junior Shelby Farland.
Defenses tightened in the second half and neither team was able to put much pressure on the other team's goal. BSU junior goalie Cassie Johansen came out to make a nice stop to prevent a breakaway by Garvey with 13 minutes remaining.
The Bears got on the scoreboard with 11 minutes to play when Farland collected a ball that bounced off a PSU defender and took a shot that was deflected in by junior Beth Phillips her sixth of the season. PSU rounded out the scoring with five minutes to play when the ball squirted loose in front of the BSU goal right to Garvey, who fired in her second of the game and 13th of the season.
Bridgewater State finished with an 11-10 advantage in shots and a 7-6 margin in penalty corners. Lemelin made six saves for PSU and Johansen finished with two saves for BSU.
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