PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Eastern Connecticut State University captured the ECAC New England Division III Women's Lacrosse Championship Sunday at Arold Field, upsetting top-seeded Plymouth State College 8-6 for the title in its first post-season appearance in program history.
The victory was the first over Plymouth State in three tries this season. The Panthers had knocked off ECSU 9-5 in the regular season and 12-8 in overtime in last weekend's Little East Conference championship game.
The Warriors complete their winningest season in school history with a 15-4 overall record, while PSC completes a successful campaign at 15-3 overall, matching the school record for wins in a season, set in 2000.
Sophomore goalie Erika Blozie (South Windsor, Conn.) turned in a superb performance in the ECSU cage, and was selected the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. She registered 20 saves in the championship game, several from point blank range. She was instrumental in holding PSC to its second-lowest offensive output this season.
It was a closely contested game all day. The Warriors jumped ahead on a pair of goals by junior Lauren Davern (Jackson Heights, N.Y.), with junior Lindsay Carley (Newton, Conn.) and freshman Sharon Kilpatrick (Londonderry, N.H.) assisting on the plays. The Panthers answered with two goals by sophomore Katie Sheridan (West Sayville, N.Y.). Freshman Mo Deegan (Westport, Conn.), who scored seven goals in ECSU's semifinal win, gave the Warriors a 3-2 lead with her first of the game with 37 seconds left in the first half.
Sheridan opened the second-half scoring for PSC with her third of the game, but Eastern took a two-goal lead on goals by Deegan and Carley, both coming on free position shots. PSC sophomore Michelle Norton (Sandwich, Mass.) and Carley exchanged goals midway through the second half but Eastern held its two-goal advantage with 10 minutes remaining.
The Panthers would not go down quietly. Senior Robin Hartman (Westminster, Md.), the school's all-time scoring leader, tallied consecutive goals with 8:41 and 6:20 on the clock to even the score at 6-6.
It was Eastern's day, though, as Blozie rejected several attempts from Sheridan and senior Brooke Smith (Columbia, S.C.). Davern scored the eventual game-winner for the Warriors with 3:46 remaining, and Carley added an insurance marker with 1:03 to play.
While Blozie stole the show, PSC senior defender Sacha Jackson (Sangerville, Maine) and freshman goalie Melissa Gravilla (Andover, N.H.) also played very well. Gravilla made several key saves and finished with a total of 15 saves. She ranks among the NCAA leaders in goals against average (7.73) and saves percentage (.634).
Sheridan finishes the season as PSC's scoring leader with 67 goals, 20 assists and 87 points. It ranks as one of the top two single-season offensive performances in school history, along with Terry Galley, who recorded 70 goals and 82 points in 1985.
Hartman, who was second on the team in scoring this spring (41 goals, 19 assists), concludes her career with all-time PSC records for goals (156), assists (70) and points (226).