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Eastern Conn. nips PSU in LEC Women’s Lacrosse semifinal

       (Box Score)

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Senior Taylor MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, Mass.) scored the only goal of overtime with a minute and a half remaining in the first of two extra sessions and third-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University pulled off a dramatic 11-10 victory over second-seeded Plymouth State University in a thrilling semifinal contest of the 2010 Little East Conference women’s lacrosse tournament at Arold Field.

            MacDonald’s goal in the non-sudden-death overtime period capped a wild affair that saw Eastern Conn. rally from a three-goal deficit early in the second half to take a two-goal lead, and Plymouth State come storming back with two goals in the final two minutes of regulation, including a tying goal with just 32 seconds left on the clock, that forced the overtime.

            Eastern Conn. (9-9), which defeated Plymouth State 17-10 during the regular season, will host the LEC championship game on Saturday against fifth-seeded University of Southern Maine.  The Huskies (10-9) shocked top-seeded Keene State, 10-8, in Thursday’s other semifinal in Keene, N.H.

            The Warriors, who shared the LEC regular season title with Plymouth State and Keene State, all with 5-1 conference records, will make their sixth consecutive appearance in the LEC championship game.  Eastern was upset by Keene State in overtime in last year’s final after the Warriors captured titles in 2005, 2007 and 2008, defeating PS U in 2005 and 2007 and USM in 2008.

            Sophomore Ashley Prizio (Brookfield, Conn.) led Eastern with five goals on the day, while MacDonald finished with a goal and three assists and a team-high five ground balls.  Prizio had scored a career-high seven goals in the regular season game against PSU. Senior Katie Beers (Trumbull, Conn.) chipped in with two goals for the Warriors, and sophomore Megan Barrett (Setauket, N.Y.) anchored the defense with three caused turnovers and four ground balls.

            Sophomore Brianna Davis (Framingham, Mass.) led the Panther offense with four goals and one assist. She scored her fourth goal with two minutes left in regulation to cut the deficit to one goal, and she set up the game-tying goal by sophomore Jenn Foley (Tewksbury, Mass.) with 32 seconds left. Senior Kalie Judd (Peabody, Mass.) scored two goals and one assist while adding five draw controls and three ground balls.  Foley and senior Kerry D’Ambroise (Lowell, Mass.) also scored twice for the Panthers.

            Eastern scored the first two goals of the game to jump out to an early lead, but PSU answered with a pair to tie the game at 2-2.  Beers and Davis traded goals less than a minute apart to deadlock the game at 3-3 with 10 minutes left in the half, and Prizio and Judd exchanged scores 23 seconds apart to make it 4-4 with eight minutes to play.  D’Ambroise snuck one in with less than two minutes to go in the half to give the Panthers a slim 5-4 margin at the intermission.

            PSU started to pull away when Davis and D’Ambroise scored the first two goals of the second half, but the Warriors were not going away easily.  Prizio notched her third of the game just 21 seconds after PSU had taken a three-goal lead (7-4), and Eastern tacked on the next four goals, one apiece by freshman Daniela Marchitto (Orange, Conn.) and senior Brooke Wayte (Bellport, N.Y.) and two more by Prizio, to give the Warriors a two-goal advantage (9-7) with 14 minutes to go.

            This time it was Plymouth State that wasn’t going down easily.  Judd scored her second of the game with 10 minutes on the clock to make it 9-8, but junior Ashley Del Vecchio (Farifield, Conn.) restored Eastern’s two-goal lead (10-8) with 6:48 on the clock.  The Panthers were a determined group and forced overtime thanks to Davis’ goal with 2:02 remaining and Foley’s tying goal with 32 seconds on the clock.

            Both teams had several chances in both overtime periods but MacDonald, two-time LEC Defensive Player of the Year, was the only one to score to win it for the Warriors.

            Plymouth State, 10-5, had its six-game winning streak stopped and will await an ECAC New England Tournament berth when the announcement is made on Monday.  

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