Panthers earn at least a share of Little East regular season title
NEW HAMPTON, N.H. – The Plymouth State University women's lacrosse team earned at least a share of the Little East Conference regular season title Tuesday evening with a 14-10 come-from-behind victory over the University of Southern Maine at the New Hampton School field.
The Panthers won their seventh game in a row to improve to 11-3 overall and 5-0 in conference play, capturing its fourth LEC regular season title in the past six seasons and earning the top seed in next week's Little East Tournament. The upset-minded Huskies have alternated wins and losses in the last six outings and are now 5-11 overall and 2-3 in conference play.
Sophomores Caroline Vonachen (Framingham, Mass.) and Kaitlyn Wilder (Framingham, Mass.) combined to score seven goals to lead the way for the Panthers, Vonachen with four goals and Wilder with three goals and an assist. Southern Maine junior Sarah Pelligrinelli (Southington, Conn.) led all scorers with six goals and one helper.
Upset-minded Southern Maine led the majority of the first half and took an 8-6 lead into intermission. The second half belonged to the Panthers, though, as PSU shut down the Husky attack and rattled off seven consecutive goals to take a 13-8 lead with eight minutes to play. The Huskies got two more goals down the stretch but PSU controlled the ball to help run out the clock.
The Huskies came right out of the game with three straight goals in the first three minutes of the game, two by Pelligrinelli with assists from Anh Nguyen (South Portland, Maine). PSU regrouped and came back over the next 10 minutes to take a 4-3 lead with two goals each by Wilder and senior Shannon Connerty (Nashua, N.H.).
After Pelligrinelli and PSU senior Amy MacDonald (Hull, Mass.) traded goals, USM pumped in four straight to take another three-goal advantage, 8-5, with 2:37 to play in the half. Vonachen scored her first of the game 20 seconds later as PSU sliced the margin to 8-6 at the break.
Vonachen tallied three goals for PSU in the first 11 minutes of the second half, and seniors Molly Gleason (Haverhill, Mass.) and Rachel Fistori (Medford, Mass.) netted goals to give all four PSU senior field players at least one goal on Senior Night. Freshman Megan Tingley (Natick, Mass.), Wilder and MacDonald tacked on goals for PSU the rest of the way, while Pelligrinelli and LaPlante scored for the visitors.
Gleason led the Panthers with 10 draw controls while Wilder scooped up a team-high six ground balls. Senior Casey Curran (Framingham, Mass.) made five saves.
Senior Julia Pearl (Essex Junction, Vt.) was a strong contributor for the Huskies with five ground balls and four draw controls, and sophomore Ashley Lomasney (York, Maine) had two ground balls and four caused turnovers. Junior Caley Presby (Portland, Maine) had a busy night in goal and finished with nine saves.
Both teams wrap up the regular season with conference road games on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. as PSU visits Rhode Island College (0-11, 0-5 LEC) and Southern Maine travels to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (2-12, 1-4 LEC).
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