#3-seeded Panthers face top-seeded Keene State for title on Sunday
DANBURY, Conn. – A dominating second half performance by the third-seeded Plymouth State University women's lacrosse team Friday afternoon propelled the Panthers into Sunday's Little East Conference championship game at Keene State College, after a 19-7 upset victory at second-seeded Western Connecticut State University's Westside Athletic Complex.
Junior Molly Gleason (Haverhill, Mass.) scored a game-high six goals for PSU, followed by junior Amy MacDonald (Hull, Mass.) and freshman Caroline Vonachen (Framingham, Mass.) who each scored four times for the Panthers. Junior Shannon Connerty (Nashua, N.H.) handed out a career-high seven assists for Plymouth State.
PSU won its fourth straight game to improve to 11-4 overall. The Panthers will make their seventh LEC championship game appearance and first since 2009, facing a Keene State team that defeated them 9-6 on April 17 in New Hampton, N.H. Western Conn.'s season ends at 8-7.
Scoring for the Colonials were senior Hyla Costello (Southington, Conn.) with three goals, freshman Destinee Carey (New Milford, Conn.) with two goals, and senior Elena Gayton (Ellington, Conn.) with two goals.
Plymouth State wasted little time taking an early lead when Gleason scored on a pass from McDonald with just over one minute played. Western got the equalizer one minute later when Gayton scored on a pass from Heaton off a free-position opportunity. PSU regained the lead at the 23:59 mark when McDonald found the net after a pass from Connerty for a 2-1 Panther lead.
Freshman Kaitlyn Wilder (Framingham, Mass.) extended the Plymouth State lead when she received a pass from sophomore Emily Tilton (Cranston, R.I.) directly in front of the Western goal and beat the keeper for a 3-1 advantage.
The teams traded goals over the next 15 minutes before MacDonald and Gleason scored the final two goals of the half to put the Panthers ahead, 9-5 at the intermission.
The Panthers came out of the break and never let Western back in the game, dominating with 10 unanswered goals and keeping the Colonials off the scoreboard until the final minute of the game.
Plymouth State held a 41-27 advantage in shots, and had the edge in ground balls, 24-19.
PSU senior Lorin Field (Hollis, N.H.) made 15 saves to earn the win in goal for PSU, improving her record to 11-4 this season. She also collected her 40th career victory, breaking the school record she shared with Carmen Villanueva (2001-04). Colonial keeper Karli Portnoy (Sea Cliff, N.Y.) made 10 saves in defeat.
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