Luscher tallies game winner for Panthers
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Freshman Mariah Luscher (Holderness, N.H.) continued her hot streak scoring in a fourth straight game, this time tallying the game-winning goal in the 43rd minute to lead Plymouth State University to a 3-1 win over Salem State University in a Little East Conference (LEC) field hockey game at Kennedy Field at the New Hampton School on Wednesday night.
Junior Kaihley Rafferty (Salem, Conn.) put the Panthers ahead in the first half, but junior Casie Curtin (Wrentham, Mass.) scored the equalizer less than seven minutes into the second half. Luscher's fifth goal of the year put PSU right back in front less than a minute later and sophomore Haley Wakefield (South Paris, Maine) added an insurance tally to close out the win.
Plymouth State improves to 3-6 overall and 3-4 in Little East action, while Salem State drops to 0-10 and 0-6 in league play.
Plymouth State 3, Salem State 1
Plymouth State 3-6, 3-4 LEC
Salem State 0-10, 0-6 LEC
How it Happened:
* The Panthers had a great scoring chance in the 13th minute. Wakefield sent a pass through the circle to Rafferty on the far post, but Salem State freshman goalkeeper Kaitlyn O'Shea (Ledgewood, N.J.) was able to make the stop.
* Wakefield had a pair of shots seconds apart in the 17th minute. O'Shea made a kick save on the first, with Wakefield taking a hack at the rebound, but O'Shea was up to the challenge again.
* Rafferty broke through in the 28th minute. With traffic in front of the Vikings' cage, she was able to push a shot into the back of the goal.
* Plymouth State nearly doubled the lead just before the end of the half. On a play off a penalty corner, senior Patty Newhard (South Dennis, Mass.) had a shot go just wide. Rafferty was on the near post, but O'Shea made the save.
* The Vikings evened the game on a beautiful goal from Curtin just 6:38 into the second half. She flipped a shot from the left side high past Plymouth State sophomore goalkeeper Jess Distler (Brookfield, N.H.) to the far post.
* PSU answered just 36 seconds later. Wakefield fired a shot that O'Shea kicked aside, but Luscher was there to push the rebound into the open cage.
* Wakefield added a rebound goal of her own to secure the win with 4:51 remaining. Junior Maddie Kabasakalian (Kent, Conn.) inserted a penalty corner to Newhard at the top of the circle. After a quick dribble move, Newhard teed up a blast. O'Shea made the initial save, but Wakefield flipped the rebound into the goal to lock up the win.
Inside the Numbers:
* The PSU offense peppered O'Shea with a season-high 31 shots, forcing the rookie to make a career-best 17 saves. Distler made two saves for the Panthers.
* Plymouth State outshot the Vikings by an 18-2 margin in the first half, and 31-5 for the game.
* The Panthers earned 11 penalty corners to SSU's four.
* Luscher scored for the fourth straight game. Her five goals lead the team.
* Rafferty and Wakefield each tallied their fourth goals of the year.
* The Panthers have won each of the last 12 meetings between the two teams and own a 24-5 mark against Salem State dating back to the 1986 season.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"I was very pleased with the energy the team brought today," said head coach Bonnie Lord. "We worked really hard the last couple of days with passing and moving and for one of the first times this season we saw it transfer onto the playing field. It was nice to see they could bring it to the game field. I'm very pleased all the way around. Tonight was crucial for us because it was a conference win."
* PSU heads to Thomas (Maine) on Friday (Oct. 5) for a 7:00 p.m. non-conference game.
* Salem State is also in action on Friday (Oct. 5) as the Vikings host Castleton for a 7:00 p.m. LEC contest.
– 30 –