#8 seed upsets top-seeded Panthers in 1-0 affair
NEW HAMPTON, N.H. – Freshman Molly Richard (Leominster, Mass.) scored the only goal of the game with 22 minutes remaining in the second half Tuesday evening as eighth-seeded Fitchburg State University stunned top-ranked Plymouth State University, 1-0, in a Little East Conference Field Hockey Tournament quarterfinal game at the New Hampton School Field.
The victory sends the Falcons, 11-8 overall, into a semifinal game Thursday at fourth-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University, as the Warriors advanced Tuesday night with a 3-0 victory over fifth-seeded Westfield State University. Plymouth State saw its season come to an end with an 11-6 record. The Panthers had defeated Fitchburg State at home, 2-1, back in September.
The game was a tight defensive battle the whole night, with the teams managing only three shots each. PSU had a slim 2-1 advantage in shots in the opening 35 minutes, and the visitors had a 2-1 margin after the break.
Richard collected a loose ball in the midfield area 12 minutes into the second half, dribbled through a couple Panther defenders, and fired a slap shot from just inside the top of the circle that beat PSU sophomore goalie Alivia Bates (Pennsauken, N.J.) to her right. It was Richard's team-leading 11th goal of the season.
Fitchburg State senior Judith Valentin (Brockton, Mass.) made three saves to record her third shutout of the season. She got strong support from several teammates, including senior Kelly Luttazi (Franklin, Mass.), junior Nicole Fors (Lunenberg, Mass.) and sophomore Rachael Denning (Salem, N.H.).
Bates made two saves in a tough-luck loss for the Panthers.
The Panthers weren't the only high seed to take it on the chin Tuesday, as #2 seeded UMass Dartmouth fell to #7 seed Worcester State in overtime, 2-1.
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