Panthers top Owls after penalty shootout
WESTFIELD, Mass. – Freshman Jess Mezquita (Atkinson, N.H.) scored twice and the Plymouth State University field hockey team outlasted Westfield State University, 3-2, after a thrilling Little East Conference (LEC) shootout win at Alumni Field on Saturday.
The game followed an eerily similar script to last weekend's shootout loss to Keene State. Mezquita scored the Panthers two regulation goals in that contest too, and in each case the visiting team came back from 2-0 first half deficits to score twice in the second half, then earn the win in a shootout. In a strange twist of fate, both of the opposing teams were the Owls.
This time it was the Westfield State Owls taking a 2-0 first half lead, but Mezquita tallied her third and fourth goals of the year in the second half to pull even. After neither team was able to score in the two 10 minute overtime periods the game went into the shootout round, where the Panthers earned a 3-0 win.
With the win PSU improves 5-9 overall and 5-6 in the Little East, while Westfield drops to 6-11 overall and 4-7 in league games.
Plymouth State 3, Westfield State 2 (SO)
Plymouth State 5-9, 5-6 LEC
Westfield State 6-11, 4-7 LEC
How it Happened:
* The Owls got off to a fast start as senior Julia Davis (Somerset, Mass.) opened the scoring off a nice dish from classmate Jordyn Gosselin (Bolton, Vt.) in the 9th minute.
* Later in the half, Westfield State would strike again as freshman Allie Giguere (Lynn, Mass.) was able to tip the ball past sophomore goalkeeper Jess Distler (Brookfield, N.H.) after an incredible diving effort in the 29th minute.
* The Panthers stormed back in the second half, outshooting Westfield State 7-3 in the first ten minutes.
* Mezquita got the rally started with a rebound goal past sophomore Katie Vamosi (Easton, Mass.) to make it 2-1 in the 58th minute.
* Three minutes later Mezquita completed the come back when she rifled a shot into the upper part of the net to even the game at 2-2.
* The teams battled through an action packed first overtime. With just 30 seconds remaining, Giguere found herself alone in front of the Panthers' goal, but Distler made a tremendous stop to keep the game knotted at 2-2.
* After a second scoreless overtime the teams went into a best-of-five shootout round.
How it Happened (Shootout):
* Both goalkeepers came up with saves in the first round and Distler stopped Giguere to open round two.
* Sophomore Laura Secone (Harpswell, Maine) put PSU ahead 1-0 with her goal in Plymouth's second round attempt.
* Another Distler stop and a goal from sophomore Haley Wakefield (South Paris, Maine) gave the Panthers a 2-0 lead through three rounds.
* Junior Kylie Ham (Wayland, Mass.) secure the PSU win with her tally in the fourth round.
Inside the Numbers:
* After being held scoreless through the team's first 11 games, Mezquita has tallied four goals over the last three.
* Distler finished with 11 saves, not including the shootout stops, to reach double digits for the third time this year. She improved her record to 5-9. Vamosi made six stops for the Owls to fall to 3-9.
* Westfield outshot the Panthers by a 10-4 margin in the first half to build the 2-0 lead, but PSU held an 11-5 advantage in the second half as the team tied the game. Both teams finished with 20 shots overall.
* Plymouth State earned 13 penalty corners, to Westfield State's seven.
* PSU has gone 16-6 against the Owls dating back to 2000, and has won ten of the last 12 meetings.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"We played a shaky first half and needed a reality check at halftime facing a 2-0 deficit," said head coach Bonnie Lord. "We are making a push for the tournament and knew we had to win. Jess Distler stepped up big time and turned away shot after shot. Overtime was intense as we were a man down to start. We felt confident going into the shootout as we had just done it a week ago. A great team effort – exciting and well-played game."
* Plymouth State celebrates Senior Day on Monday (Oct. 22) with a 4:00 p.m. contest against St. Joseph's of Maine at the New Hampton School.
* The Owls host Western New England University on Tuesday (Oct. 23) for a 4:00 p.m. non-conference game.
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