Wilder, Carroll help send Panthers to sixth straight ECAC title game
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Freshman Kaitlyn Wilder (Framingham, Mass.) and senior Lauren Carroll (Rollinsford, N.H.) combined for three goals and three assists Saturday as top-seeded Plymouth State University rolled past fifth-seeded Worcester State University, 7-1, in the first semifinal game of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Field Hockey Tournament at Arold Field.
Wilder scored two goals and assisted on another while Carroll scored once and assisted on two goals. Carroll extended her school assist records to 16 this season and 30 in her career. PSU led 4-0 at halftime and never looked back, outshooting the Lancers by a 25-6 count.
Plymouth State, 14-6, advances to Sunday's championship game at 12 noon against second-seeded University of New England (16-6). The Nor'easters edged third-seeded Bridgewater State University in the second semifinal, 2-1 in overtime. Worcester State completes its season at 12-9.
PSU wasted little time getting on the scoreboard against the Lancers, converting a penalty corner in the first two minutes of the game. Carroll fed the corner to freshman Masha Lange (Danville, N.H.), who fired a slap shot from the top of the circle to give PSU an early lead.
Wilder scored the next two goals for PSU, upping her season total to 16. She picked up a loose ball in the slot and knocked it past the goalie at 9:07, and converted a pass from junior Sam Carberry (Shrewsbury, Pa.) near the left post in the 21st minute to extend the margin to 3-0. Junior Kristen Morris (Stoughton, Mass.) closed out the first-half scoring less than two minutes later when she deflected a shot by Carroll out of mid-air and just inside the left post after Carroll had weaved her way through the WCSU defense.
Worcester State would not give up and applied pressure on the Panther half of the field in the last 10 minutes of the first half. The Lancers took a couple of good shots but PSU goalie Hilary Lemelin (Milan, N.H.) made the saves.
The Lancers again showed some spark early in the second half, but PSU prevented any comeback attempt with two goals in the first 10 minutes. Junior Emily Davis (Boscawen, N.H.) redirected in a pass from senior Jackie Morin (Scarborough, Maine) six minutes into the second half, and Carroll followed three minutes later with an assist from Wilder.
Freshman Meghan Pini (Natick, Mass.) finally broke through for the Lancers as she knocked one past Lemelin for her fifth goal of the season in the 48th minute, with an assist from classmate Katelyn Carmody (Shelburne Falls, Mass.).
PSU was able to get playing time for its reserves late in the second half, and freshman Allison Lemay (Westbrook, Maine) rounded out the scoring with an assist from classmate Nicole Burgess (Mexico, Maine).
The Lancer defense was able to shut down PSU junior Nikki Garvey (Canaan, N.H.), keeping the Little East Conference's leading scorer off the scoreboard.
Lemelin finished with four saves for PSU to earn the win, while senior Allison Romano (East Bridgewater, Mass.) made 14 saves in the Lancer goal.
The Panthers will be making their sixth straight appearance in the ECAC New England Championship game, looking for their second straight title. PSU also captured ECAC championships in 2010, 2004, and 1987.
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