Panthers win third title in five years; Bates named Most Outstanding Player
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Freshman goalie Alivia Bates (Pennsauken, N.J.) turned aside nine shots Sunday afternoon to lead Plymouth State University to the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Field Hockey Championship over Gordon College, 2-0, at Arold Field.
The top-seeded Panthers, playing in their seventh consecutive ECAC title game, earned their third championship in five years. Second-seeded Gordon College outshot the Panthers 12-5 and owned a 17-4 edge in penalty corners but Bates, the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, was up to the challenge icing the win for Plymouth State.
Senior Nikki Garvey (Canaan, N.H.) opened the scoring in the seventh minute of the first half, after burying a feed from the right endline from freshman Katie Martin (Waterbury Center, Vt.). Plymouth State's second goal came in the 26th minute when, in a flurry of activity in front of the net, Garvey flipped a nifty pass through the legs of Gordon goalkeeper Shannon Hicks (Scarborough, Maine) to classmate Emily Davis (Boscawen, N.H.), who buried her sixth of the season.
The Fighting Scots (13-10) continued to pressure the Plymouth State (14-5) defense in the second half, with a number of near misses. Senior Courtney Scott (Herndon, Penn.) fired a high shot on a two-on-one breakaway that was turned away by Bates. With 16:25 to play Scott carried the ball through traffic before a diving Bates pushed the ball away ending the threat. With 14:57 left in the game Scott again rifled a shot from 10 yards that Bates turned aside.
Freshman Emily Allcroft (Haydenville, Mass.) had two point-blank shots denied off a penalty corner for Gordon with nine minutes to play, the second deflecting off the post. Gordon's final scoring opportunity came with 3:30 left, when a deep pass from 25 yards out got behind the Panther defense. Scott again came up empty-handed when Bates made the key stop.
With her goal and assist, Garvey ends her illustrious career as one of the top Panther scorers of all-time. Her 64 career goals and 153 career points are both good enough for second-best, while her 25 career assists stand as the third most in program history.
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