BRIDGEWATER, Mass. - Plymouth State College's hopes for a New England Women's Lacrosse Alliance championship ended Sunday, as the Panthers were narrowly defeated by host Bridgewater State in the NEWLA title game, 14-13.
Trailing 7-5 at the half and 9-6 early in the second half, an inspired Plymouth State team rattled off four unanswered goals to take a 10-9 lead with 15 minutes to play. The teams were tied at 10-10 and 11-11, but Bridgewater State outscored PSC 3-2 in the final eight minutes for the win.
"It was a great championship game," said PSC coach Abby Burbank. "I thought both teams played very well. We played here earlier this season and didn't play real well, so we were looking to be better today, and we were. We're very proud of what we did on the field today."
It was the second time the Bears defeated PSC this season. They captured a 12-9 victory on the same field in a regular season game on April 10th. The Panthers, who won the Northern Division regular season title with a 5-0 mark and earned play-off victories over Keene State (15-8) and the University of New England (12-5), complete the first season under Burbank at 12-5 overall. The 12 wins is a single-season school record.
"I knew if both teams played well, it would be a close game," said Bridgewater State coach Josh Hexter. "I'm just glad we had the lead when the clock ran out."
The Panthers were led by freshman Janet Conner (South Freeport, ME) and senior Sam Guthrie (Falmouth, MA). Conner led all scorers with five goals, and finishes her terrific rookie season with a team-high 43 goals and 48 points. Guthrie, normally a standout defensive player, took to the offense Sunday, scoring three goals after scoring just twice all season. Her first goal broke a scoreless tie six minutes into the game after BSC had controlled much of the play. She added another during PSC's four-goal stretch early in the second half, and brought her team to within one (14-13) with 1:33 to play with her third goal. Guthrie nearly tied it with a minute to play, but was stopped at point-blank range, and time ran out on the Panthers.
Five other players tallied goals for Plymouth State. Freshman Robin Hartman (Reisterstown, MD) scored once, completing an outstanding first season with 35 goals and a team-high 10 assists. Junior Amanda Beedy (New Hampton, NH) got a goal that tied the game at 11-11, her 30th of the season. Senior Erin Fitzgerald (Mansfield, CT) and sophomore Courtney O'Sullivan (East Kingston, NH) tallied first half goals, and Jess Shapiro (Windsor Locks, CT) scored during PSC's second-half flurry.
PSC sophomore goalie Lisa Goldberg (Newton, MA) registered 13 saves, including several from close-range.
"It was a good championship game," said Burbank. "We had our opportunities, but we walk off the field feeling good about how we played."
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