Top-seeded Panthers to host Gordon in championship game
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Sophomore Allison Lemay (Westbrook, Maine) and senior Nikki Garvey (Canaan, N.H.) each scored goals Saturday afternoon as top-seeded Plymouth State University knocked off fourth-seeded Salve Regina 2-1 in an Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Field Hockey semifinal at Arold Field.
The Panthers (13-5) advance to their seventh straight ECAC Tournament final, looking to earn their third championship in the last five years. PSU will face second-seeded Gordon College in the final Sunday at noon after the Fighting Scots defeated third-seeded Johnson & Wales University, 3-1, in Saturday's second semifinal.
Plymouth State was aggressive from the opening whistle, as they had multiple penalty corners and shots in the opening five minutes. The Panthers finally broke through at the 14:18 mark, when Lemay put a shot past Salve Regina goalkeeper Murphy McCann (Westerly, R.I). The lead was short-lived, however, as the Seahawks scored the equalizer less than two minutes later when junior Lindsey Mazzola (Upton, Mass.) scored on a feed from freshman Amber Cody (Pawling, N.Y.).
Garvey scored the eventual game-winner, her 19th goal of the season, at the 21:42 mark of the opening frame.
The second half was a back-and-forth battle, as both team's had multiple scoring opportunities. Plymouth State freshman keeper Alivia Bates (Pennsauken, N.J.) made several key stops in the closing minutes to preserve the victory. Bates finished with five saves, while her counterpart, McCann, had seven stops.
Plymouth State held a slight 12-11 advantage in penalty corners, and owned a 12-7 lead in shots. Salve Regina's best opportunity to tie the game came at the 58:16 mark when junior Abigail Tepper (Foxboro, Mass.) blasted a high shot from the left side. Bates swatted the shot away and the Panthers were able to clear the ball. Bates was tested again at the 67:51 mark on a point-blank shot by Salve Regina junior Marissa Gagnon (Smithfield, RI), but was up to the challenge, icing the victory for Plymouth.
PSU and Gordon last met on Halloween of 2001, when Plymouth State earned a 5-0 win in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
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