PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Plymouth State University used a balanced scoring attack and a tenacious defense Friday afternoon to register a 19-5 victory over the University of New England in the semifinals of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Women's Lacrosse Tournament at Arold Field.
The second-seeded Panthers (12-5) advance to the championship game for the third time in the last four years. PSU finished runner-up in 2002 and won the title in 2003. Third-seeded UNE completes its successful campaign at 11-7.
PSU must wait until the completion of the other semifinal game, which begins at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, to learn the opponent, location and time of Sunday's title game. If top-seeded Endicott wins the other semifinal, the championship game will be Sunday at Endicott at 1:00 p.m. If fourth-seeded Keene State upsets Endicott on Saturday, Plymouth State will host Keene State Sunday at 3:00 p.m. for the ECAC Championship.
Just as they did in Wednesday's first-round game against Lasell College, the Panthers took control of the game early in the first half and never looked back. PSU pulled ahead 6-1 just nine minutes into the contest, and owned a 13-1 lead at halftime. UNE scored three goals in the first three minutes of the second half but didn't pose a serious threat the rest of the way.
Sophomore Kelsey MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, Mass.) dominated the midfield for PSU, finishing with 10 draw controls, 10 ground balls and six caused turnovers, to go along with two goals and three assists.
Junior Bethany Brown (Norwich, Conn.) scored six goals to lead the Panther offense, while junior Annie Pinault (Framingham, Mass.) tallied three goals and four assists. Sophomore Amanda Spadafora (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) chipped in with three goals and an assist, while sophomore Meg Cupoli (Southboro, Mass.) and junior Nicole Evans (Scituate, Mass.) contributed two goals and one assist each. Cupoli and Spadafora also collected five ground balls apiece.
Freshman Ashley MacDonald (Billerica, Mass.) led the Nor'Easters with two goals, finishing the season with a team-leading 57 goals. Freshman Whitney Blais (Hollis, Maine) and seniors Angie Kubicki (Readfield, Maine) and Ruth Ness (Wolfeboro, N.H.) scored once each.
Sophomore Suzie Lilakos (Stratham, N.H.) and senior Kristin Elliott (Exeter, N.H.) each played one half in the Panther goal, Lilakos making three saves in the first half and Elliott making two in the second half. Freshman Amy Williams (Bridgewater, N.H.) made 14 saves for UNE, 13 in the first half.
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