PLYMOUTH, N.H. - A college lacrosse season that started out in March and April with Mother Nature as its biggest opponent ended on a beautiful spring Sunday afternoon in May at Plymouth State University with the best possible outcome: Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III New England titles for both Panther men's and women's teams.
The Panther squads, both the top seeds and hosts for the ECAC semifinal and championship games over the weekend, put the cap on a pair of successful campaigns. The PSU men outlasted MIT in double overtime in Saturday's semifinal, 7-6, and then rallied from three goals down in the second half of Sunday's championship game against Roger Williams to pull out a 10-7 victory at Panther Field. The PSU women got past Worcester State in Saturday's semifinal, 16-12, before jumping out to a big lead en route to a 16-7 triumph over Curry College in Sunday's title clash at Arold Field.
The Panther men complete the season with an 11-6 overall record, which ties for the second-most number of wins in school history. The Panther women complete the spring with a 14-5 mark, tied for the third-most number of wins in school history.
The ECAC New England men's championship is Plymouth State's first in five visits to the ECAC New England Tournament. The Panthers' previous top finish was in 2005, when they lost in the title game at Western New England College.
The ECAC New England title for the Panther women is the third in the past five years, adding to the two the Panthers captured in 2003 and 2005. PSU, which also advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2004 and 2006, made the most of its eighth straight post-season appearance. The Panther seniors complete their careers with two NCAA Tournament berths, two ECAC New England Tournament titles, and a 57-17 overall record.
PSU senior midfielder Kelsey MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, Mass.) scored three goals in the championship game while collecting an impressive total of 14 ground balls, nine draw controls and eight caused turnovers, was named women's tournament Most Valuable Player.
Panther freshman attackman Wes Downing (Glastonbury, Conn.), who scored two goals in Saturday's semifinal win over MIT, including the double-overtime game-winner, and added three goals and an assist in the championship game, was named the men's tournament's Most Valuable Player.
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