GORHAM, Maine -- Junior midfielder Erin Garland (Westbrook, Maine) scored what proved to be the game-winning goal on a penalty kick 13 minutes into the second half and assisted on a second goal as the University of Southern Maine Huskies defeated the Plymouth State College Panthers 2-1 Tuesday afternoon in a Little East Conference women's soccer match at the USM soccer pitch.
The win was the Huskies fourth in the last five matches, and improved their overall record to 7-8-0. Plymouth State dropped its fourth straight match to fall to 5-9-0 overall. USM, PSC and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth are tied with 2-4-0 records in Little East play heading into Saturday's regular season finales. Two of the three will earn a spot in the upcoming postseason tournament that starts October 23.
Garland set up the first goal of the match, crossing the ball through the 18-yard area to senior Jen Young (Middlebury, Vt.) who took one touch and beat PSC senior goalkeeper Becky Kennedy (West Springfield, Mass.) from about ten yards out. The goal came just 1:40 into the match.
Thirteen minutes into the second half, Garland was taken down just inside the box by the last Plymouth State defender on a breakaway, resulting in a penalty kick. Garland calmly struck her shot into the left side of the net past Kennedy for a 2-0 lead.
The Panthers made things interesting with 4:13 to play when senior midfielder Beth Dooly (Goffstown, N.H.) scored to cut the deficit in half. Sophomore defender Kate Van Tassel's (Natick, Mass.) long cross bounced over a USM defender to Dooly, who put a six -yard shot past USM freshman keeper Marcy Ansley (Hudson, Mass.). The Panthers kept the pressure on, but were unable to generate a good scoring opportunity over the final four minutes.
Kennedy finished the match making four saves while Ansley was credited with one save. Southern Maine had a 14-3 edge in shots during the match, and a 5-4 margin in corner kicks.
Southern Maine will travel to Willimantic, Conn., on Saturday to play Eastern Connecticut State University at 1:00 p.m. Plymouth State journeys to Providence, R.I., to play Rhode Island College, also on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
(Courtesy Southern Maine Sports Information)