Wakefield, Martin lead Panthers back to semifinal round
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Freshman Haley Wakefield (South Paris, Maine) scored two goals and senior Katie Martin (Waterbury Center, Vt.) added three assists to lead third-seeded Plymouth State University to a 4-2 win over sixth-seeded University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in the opening round of the Little East Conference Field Hockey Tournament at the New Hampton School on a chilly Friday night.
Faced with a one-goal deficit at halftime, PSU rallied with three second half scores to advance to the semifinals for the second straight year, and the 13th time in 18 seasons under head coach Bonnie Lord. The Panthers (12-5, 8-3 LEC) will face the winner of tomorrow afternoon's first round match-up between #2 Keene State and #7 Bridgewater State at the site of the highest remaining seed. The Corsairs' season ends with a 9-10 overall record (6-5 LEC).
The upset-minded Corsairs brought early offensive pressure and earned three penalty corners in the first five minutes. On the third insert, senior Erin Kish (Littleton, Mass.) nearly put the visitors up early, but senior goalkeeper Alivia Bates (Pennsauken, N.J.) kicked her shot away.
Wakefield notched the game's first goal in the tenth minute. Martin fired a shot that Wakefield redirected past the UMD goalie to put the hosts up 1-0.
The Corsairs evened the score in the 25th minute after an impressive individual effort from junior Mary Brown (Leicester, Mass.). The 5-3 forward carried the ball some 30-yards, weaving through the Panther defense, before beating Bates with a shot to the bottom left corner of the cage.
UMD jumped ahead just three minutes later. After pressure in the Corsairs' offensive zone led to a penalty corner, junior Ciara Anderson (Medway, Mass.) put the visitors on top with her fourth goal of the year.
The Corsairs looked poised to complete the upset as senior goalkeeper Allison Burke (Franklin, Mass.) held the Panther attack at bay.
With roughly 15 minutes to play the momentum shifted, as junior Patty Newhard (South Dennis, Mass.) fired a through ball to the back post, where senior Lily Davis (Boscawen, N.H.) tapped it into an empty net to level the game at 2-2.
The goal renewed the PSU offense and less than ten minutes later the hosts were back in front. Sophomore Maddie Kabasakalian (Kent, Conn.) scored in traffic in front of the Corsair goal after collecting a feed from Martin.
Martin added her third assist on the night just three minutes later when she set up Wakefield for an insurance goal, putting PSU ahead 4-2.
PSU will either play at Keene State or host Bridgewater State in the semifinal round on Wednesday (Nov. 1). The Panthers blanked Bridgewater, 5-0, at the New Hampton School on Sept. 22, and suffered a 2-1 overtime loss at the hands of the Owls on Sept. 19.
– 30 –