Panthers claim sixth LEC title, earn automatic NCAA Championships berth
MANSFIELD, Conn. – Second-seeded Plymouth State University got payback Saturday afternoon, avenging its only conference loss of the regular season by defeating top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University, 13-12, for the Little East Conference women's lacrosse championship at the Mansfield Athletic Complex.
Senior Sam Sullivan (Canton, Mass.) scored a game-high five goals and added an assist for PSU and was named Most Outstanding Player. The Panthers also got outstanding performances from senior Caroline Vonachen (Framingham, Mass.), who was good for four goals and two assists, and junior Megan Tingley (Natick, Mass.), who contributed two goals, five assists and six ground balls.
The outcome came on the heels of Eastern's 9-8 victory over PSU last Saturday in the regular season finale in Plymouth, N.H., which gave Eastern the top seed in the tournament and home field advantage in Saturday's game.
PSU earns the LEC's automatic berth in the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament, which begins at regional sites next weekend. The official announcement of the NCAA Tournament field will be announced Sunday at 9:30 p.m. on ncaa.com.
- At Stake: Little East Conference Tournament Championship
- Date: Saturday, May 6, 2017
- Location: Mansfield, Conn. (Mansfield Complex)
- Score: Plymouth State 13, Eastern Connecticut 12
- Records: Plymouth State 11-3; Eastern Connecticut 14-5
* Plymouth State, 11-3, won its record sixth LEC women's lacrosse championship and second title in the last four years. PSU was playing in its fourth straight championship game.
* The Panthers fell behind early, going down 3-0 in the first 10 minutes, but responded with a big five-goal rally over the next 10 minutes to take a 5-3 lead. Vonachen had a goal and two assists in the rally, Sullivan scored back to back goals, and Tingley added a goal and an assist. The teams alternated goals the rest of the half, with Tingley setting up Sullivan and Vonachen for goals for the Panthers, and PSU held a 7-5 lead at the intermission.
* PSU had a three-goal surge in the second half, with scores by Sullivan, Vonachen and sophomore Sam Fiore (West Newbury, Mass.), to open up its largest lead, 11-7, with 15 minutes remaining. Eastern cut the lead to two goals twice in the last 10 minutes, and really made things interesting with two goals in the final 45 seconds, but time ran out on the Warriors.
* PSU senior Meg Brault (South Windsor, Conn.) made eight saves to earn the win, improving her record to 11-3. Senior Taylor Emmerson (Colchester, Conn.) made 10 saves for Eastern as PSU out-shot the visitors, 34-24.
* Eastern was 4-of-6 on free position attempts while PSU was just 2-of-12.
* Plymouth State will make its sixth appearance in the NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championships, with the previous appearances coming in 2000, 2001, 2004, 2006, and 2014.