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Panthers win 2nd straight NEWLA Championship

BRIDGEWATER, Mass. - For the second year in a row, Plymouth State College has captured the New England Women's Lacrosse Alliance Championship, defeating Bridgewater State College Sunday in the title game, 11-9.

The Panthers, 13-3 overall and winners of six straight and nine of the last 10, also receive the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament. First-round NCAA games will start next Saturday, May 12, at four regional sites.

The NCAA announced Sunday night that Plymouth State will play Saturday at Middlebury in a regional first-round game. PSC played at Middlebury in last year's first round, and lost 24-5.

The Bears, 10-8, are hoping for an ECAC New England Tournament berth when the bids are announced Monday.

Bridgewater State, the top seed in NEWLA's Southern Division, took a 9-8 lead Sunday on a goal by Stacie Dufour with 10:39 to play in the second half. PSC, the top seed in the Northern Division, rebounded with the next three goals. Freshman Michelle Norton (Sandwich, Mass.) tied the game, and classmate Katie Sheridan (West Sayville, N.Y.) gave the Panthers a 10-9 lead four seconds later. Sophomore Robin Hartman (Santa Maria, Cal.) netted an insurance goal with 2:52 to play.

BSC goalie Danielle Bean and PSC netminder Brenna Matarazzo (Salem, N.H.) were each credited with eight saves.

The Panthers are in their first season under head coach Wynne Lobel.

Plymouth State defeated Bridgewater State in the NEWLA Championship game for the second straight year, including a 17-15 decision last spring. BSC edged PSC 14-13 for the Championship in 1999, and New England College won the inaugural NEWLA title in 1999.