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Panthers down Bridgewater in ECAC semifinal

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Plymouth State College advanced to the championship game of the ECAC New England Division III Women's Lacrosse Tournament Saturday, knocking off Bridgewater State College 16-10 in the first semifinal contest at Arold Field.

The top-seeded Panthers will face second-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University on Sunday for the championship. The Warriors reached the title game with a 17-15 overtime verdict over third-seeded Wheaton College in the second semifinal Saturday at Arold Field. PSC improves its record to 15-2 overall, while Bridgewater State completes its season at 11-7.

Sunday's championship game has been moved from 1:00 p.m. to 11:00 a.m., in an effort to try and finish the game before the scheduled inclement weather arrives. Admission for the contest is free.

Fourth-seeded Bridgewater State took a 2-1 lead in the first five minutes of the game, but the Panthers answered with five unanswered goals, including two each from sophomore Katie Sheridan (West Sayville, N.Y.) and freshman Annmarie Guglielmo (Gansevoort, N.Y.). PSC held a 9-5 advantage at the break and extended it to 14-7 midway through the second half before settling for the six-goal victory.

Sheridan led the Panthers in the victory, collecting five goals and one assist. Sophomore Michelle Norton (Sandwich, Mass.) and senior Brooke Smith (Columbia, S.C.) added three goals apiece, and Guglielmo contributed two goals and an assist. Juniors Julie Shields (Whitby, Ont.) and Eileen Rice (Nashua, N.H.) and senior Robin Hartman (Westminster, Md.) also scored solo goals for the Panthers.

Juniors Melanie Medeiros (Somerset, Mass.) and Paula Habel (Hingham, Mass.) provided much of the offense for Bridgewater State, Medeiros scoring three goals and Habel adding two goals and two assists. Sophomore Erika Smith (Bridgewater, Mass.) and senior Jessica Kistler (Leominster, Mass.) registered a goal and an assist apiece, and senior Jen Cullen (Dalton, Mass.) and juniors Laura Swart (Yorktown, N.Y.) and Christine Bren (Monson, Mass.) each scored once for the Bears.

PSC freshman goalie Melissa Gravilla (Andover, N.H.) turned away 13 shots for the winners, while Bridgewater State goalie Danielle Bean (Bethel, Vt.) was credited with eight saves.

Sunday's championship game will be the third meeting this season between PSC and Eastern Connecticut. The Panthers have won the previous two, downing the Warriors 9-5 during the regular season at ECSU, and defeating Eastern 12-8 in overtime last Saturday in Plymouth for the Little East Conference championship.

PSC is seeking its second ECAC New England crown. The Panthers captured the first ECAC women's lacrosse championship in 1984.