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PSU Women’s Lax eliminates WestConn from LEC Tourney

(Box Score

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Junior Kalie Judd (Peabody, Mass.) and freshman Brianna Davis (Framingham, Mass.) combined to score seven of Plymouth State University's 10 goals Tuesday afternoon, leading the third-seeded Panthers to a 10-8 victory over sixth-seeded Western Connecticut State University in the first round of the Little East Conference Women's Lacrosse Tournament at sunny and windy Arold Field.

            PSU, playing without leading scorer Taylor Cambal (West Yarmouth, Mass.) and starting freshman goalie Nicole Provencher (Guilford, Conn.), who were both out with injuries, won for the fifth time in its last six outings to up its overall record to 6-8.  WestConn completes its season at 9-9.  The Panthers will advance to a semifinal game this Thursday at 3:30 p.m. against second-seeded Keene State College at the Owl Athletic Complex.

            Judd scored four goals for the Panthers and Davis added three.  Freshman Nicole Grover (Yarmouth, Maine) also scored twice and freshman Jill Gerzabek (Branford, Conn.) chipped in with one.  Davis now has a team-high 37 goals for PSU, and Judd is third with 29.  Senior defender Amanda Kreamer (Lynn, Mass.) collected a team-high four ground balls.

            Freshman Jessica Bouwman (New Milford, Conn.) paced the visitors with three goals, while senior Whitney Fairchild (New Milford, Conn.) and junior Kara Kruczkiewicz (Brookfield, Conn.) tallied two goals apiece and junior Jessica Majeski (Norwalk, Conn.) added one. Kruczkiewicz picked up a game-high five ground balls.

            Freshman Michelle Leonard (Hopkinton, Mass.), a midfielder making her first appearance in the Panther goal, finished with an impressive 24 saves.  Freshmen Mercedes Koehler (Bethel, Conn.) and Jodi Rocco (Brewster, N.Y.) combined to make 11 saves in the WestConn cage.

            Davis and Judd gave PSU a 2-0 lead with goals in the first six minutes.  Kruczkiewicz put the Colonials on the board at the 22:12 mark, but the Panthers answered with three straight goals to pull ahead, 5-1 with seven minutes left in the first half.  WestConn rallied with three unanswered scores in the last four minutes of the half, one each by Bouwman, Fairchild and Kruczkiewicz, to make it a 5-4 PSU lead at the intermission.

            Judd, Grover and Gerzabek scored consecutive goals for PSU to open the second half and take an 8-4 lead with 17 minutes remaining.  The Colonials answered with three straight of their own over the next five minutes, one each by Majeski, Fairchild and Bouwman, to pull to within one goal at 8-7 with 11:39 to play.  Judd and Bouwman traded goals with about five minutes remaining, and Davis added an insurance marker with 1:26 remaining to help PSU hold on for the win.

            The Panthers had defeated the Colonials 18-11 in the regular season back on Apr. 18.

            WestConn finished with a 43-24 advantage in shots and 13-6 margin in draw controls.  PSU was charged with 27 turnovers to just eight for the visitors.

            PSU's semifinal match-up will be the third meeting this season between the Panthers and Owls.  KSC edged the Panthers 12-10 in West Palm Beach, Fla., back on Mar. 20, and pulled out a 15-12 win in Keene on Apr. 21.

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