KEENE, N.H. - Sophomore attack Jill Kirk (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y) scored five goals Thursday afternoon to lead second-seed Keene State College to a 13-7 victory over rival and third-seed Plymouth State University in a semifinal game of the Little East Conference Women's Lacrosse Tournament at Owl Athletic Complex.
Keene State (11-7), which extended its winning streak to a school-record seven games, will travel to Willimantic to face top seed Eastern Connecticut State in Saturday's Championship game. The Warriors blanked fourth-seed UMass-Dartmouth 16-0 in their semifinal contest. Plymouth State concludes its season with a 6-9 record.
Kirk scored the first two goals of the game as KSC jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. After junior Kalie Judd (Peabody, Mass.) put PSU on the board, Keene State tacked on two more goals to go up 5-1. After freshman Nicole Grover (Yarmouth, Maine) tallied another one for PSU, KSC scored the final two goals of the half to take a 7-2 lead into the locker room.
The Panthers netted four consecutive goals coming out of the break. The fourth one was a man-up goal scored by sophomore Michaela Rice (Weirs Beach, N.H.) that cut the Owls lead to 7-6 at the 15:09 mark.
Returning to the field after serving a penalty, Kirk fed sophomore Missy Luzzi (Oakland, N.J.), who put the Owls ahead 8-6. KSC put the game away by scoring the next four goals to make it a 12-6 game with just four minutes to play.
Sophomore Emily Persano (Somers, Conn.) finished with three goals and an assist while sophomore Jenny Lillis (West Islip, N.Y.) scored twice and had a helper. Junior Dene Tully (Peabody, Mass.), and senior Molly Corcoran (Concord, N.H.) also scored goals for KSC and sophomore Lauren Sawyer (Westbrook, Me.) dished out three assists.
Judd finished the game with three goals and two assists to lead PSU, which was again without leading scorer Taylor Cambal (Yarmouth, Mass.). Grover scored twice and freshman Brianna Davis (Framingham, Mass.) chipped in with a goal for the Panthers.
Senior Jen Gearing (Westfield, Mass.) made 10 saves for the Owls. Freshman Michelle Leonard (Hopkinton, Mass.) stopped nine shots for PSU in just her second game in goal.
Keene State, which won a pair of close games against Plymouth State (12-10 and 15-12) during the regular season, registered its first tournament victory against PSU in five meetings.
KSC will be making its second trip to the LEC finals. They lost to PSU 9-5 in the 2004 championship. KSC lost to Eastern 14-13 earlier in the season.
(Courtesy of Keene State Sports Information)
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