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PSU Women’s Lax holds off UMass Dartmouth in LEC semifinal

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Top-seeded Plymouth State University got goals from eight different players Friday afternoon en route to a 20-11 victory over fourth-seeded University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in the first semifinal game of the 2006 Little East Conference Women's Lacrosse Tournament at Arold Field.

            The Panthers won their seventh straight game and improved to 12-5 overall, while UMD completed its season at 9-7.  PSU advances to its fifth consecutive LEC Championship game, where they will face second-seeded and defending champion Eastern Connecticut State University Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at Arold Field.  The Warriors earned a title-game bid with an 11-4 victory over third-seeded Keene State College in Friday's second semifinal.

            Junior midfielders Annie Pinault (Framingham, Mass.) and Amanda Spadafora (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) led the Panther attack, Pinault with four goals and Spadafora with three goals and two assists.  Seniors Bethany Brown (Norwich, Conn.) and Nicole Evans (Scituate, Mass.) and junior Kelsey MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, Mass.) also contributed three goals apiece, while junior Liz Boddy (Brentwood, N.H.) added two goals and an assist and senior Meghan O'Neil (Scituate, Mass.) and freshman Cassidy Barry (Branford, Conn.) scored once each.

            MacDonald had her usual dominating performance in the midfield for PSU, collecting a game-high eight ground balls and seven draw controls.

            The Corsairs got four goals from junior Katelyn Elliot (Lowell, Mass.), three goals from senior Andrea Travers (Weymouth, Mass.), and two goals and four assists from sophomore Marie Spang (Wakefield, Mass.).  Seniors Mary Doherty (Loudonville, N.Y.) and Katelyn Sullivan (New Bedford, Mass.) also scored for UMD in the setback.

            PSU jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game, but the Corsairs did not buckle and came back to tie the game at 3-3 midway through the first half.  After the teams traded goals, the Panthers rattled off six of the next seven goals before UMD got one late in the half, making it a 10-6 PSU lead at the break.

            UMD scored the first goal of the second half, but PSU responded with the next four to go ahead 14-7, and the Corsairs didn't get closer than five goals the rest of the way.

            Plymouth State finished with a 44-25 advantage in shots.  Sophomore goalie Sarah Beebe (Rumson, N.J.) earned the win in the Panther goal with nine saves, while UMD netminder Erin Doherty (West Newbury, Mass.) finished with 14 saves.

            Three of the previous four LEC Championship games involved Plymouth State and Eastern Connecticut, with PSU winning three straight titles from 2002-04 and ECSU pulling off the upset last season, 12-8.  The Panthers edged the Warriors in last month's regular season affair, 7-6, in Willimantic, Conn.

            PSU finished 6-0 in the LEC this spring and remains perfect (29-0) in five years of LEC regular season play.  ECSU placed second in the conference this season with a 5-1 mark.

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