Panthers finish as LEC Co-Champs, Earn top seed in Tournament
NEW HAMPTON, N.H. – Senior Brianna Passero (Trumbull, Conn.) broke a tie with the only goal of the second half Saturday afternoon and Eastern Connecticut State University held on to defeat Plymouth State University, 3-2, in the Little East Conference regular season finale at the New Hampton School.
The Panthers wind up the regular season in a three-way tie for first place in the Little East, as PSU, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Keene State College all finish with 9-2 conference records. Plymouth State (11-5 overall) defeated the other two in head-to-head competition and earns the No. 1 seed in next week's Little East Tournament.
PSU will host eighth-seeded Fitchburg State University Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in a quarterfinal match at the New Hampton School.
Eastern Connecticut (11-6 overall) put the finishing touches on its finest conference regular season ever, placing fourth in the LEC with an 8-3 mark. Eastern will host fifth-seeded Westfield State University in a first-round playoff match Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex – the team's first playoff home match in 18 years of conference completion.
The victory over Plymouth State is the first for Eastern after losing the previous 19 in the series and comes five short years after a 10-0 disaster at the hands of the Panthers in a 2010 regular-season loss.
Senior Laura Chicorka (Enfield, Conn.) and Passero scored 1:24 apart in the opening 12 minutes to stake Eastern to a quick 2-0 lead. The hosts evened the score with two goals in less than eight minutes by junior Nicole Burgess (Mexico, Maine) and freshman Kialah Reeder (Enfield, N.H.) Burgess leads the team and ranks second in the conference with 13 goals, while Reeder tallied her third to even the score at 2-2 at halftime.
PSU, which ends the regular season with two losses in four days, outshot Eastern, 12-9, but could not capitalize on any of its 12 penalty corners (Eastern had three).
Eastern senior goalie Samantha Scavo (Redding, Conn.) stopped eight shots, holding the Panthers off the board over the final 42 minutes. PSU sophomore Alivia Bates (Pennsauken, N.J.) made four saves in the PSU goal.
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