GORHAM, Maine - Junior forward Liz Brunton (Birch Harbor, Maine) scored three goals and had an assist Tuesday afternoon to lead fourth-seeded University of Southern Maine to a 4-1 triumph over fifth-seeded Plymouth State University in a first round playoff match of the 2004 Little East Conference Women's Soccer Tournament.
The Huskies, 8-7-4 overall, advance to play top-seeded Keene State College on Friday in one semifinal match. This is the Huskies first trip to the semifinal round since the 2000 tournament. Plymouth State finishes the season 6-10-1 overall.
Brunton put the Huskies on top early as she took a through pass from senior Amanda Loomis (Poultney, Vt.) and beat PSU junior goalkeeper Hayley Quinones (Waitsfield, Vt.) from 10 yards out in the sixth minute.
The margin doubled six minutes later as Brunton's bad angle shot deflected off a Panther defender and just out of the reach of Quinones in the 12th minute.
The Panthers cut the deficit in half in the 26th minute when sophomore Krista Pettrey (Northfield, Vt.) took a shot from the top of the 18-yard box that went off a USM defender and over USM senior goalkeeper Marcy Ansley (Hudson, Mass.).
Brunton sent senior Amanda Valeriani (South Portland, Maine) in off the right side with a nifty pass in the 43rd minute, and Valeriani placed a left-footed shot by Quinones for a 3-1 lead at the break.
The only goal of the second half came in the 65th minute as Brunton took the ball away from a defender and beat Quinones from 12 yards. The hat trick was the first by a USM player since Abbie Leonard had three goals against UMass Boston in October 2001. Brunton now has 11 goals on the season, one shy of the school single-season record.
Ansley finished the match with three saves while Quinones made four stops for the Panthers. Southern Maine enjoyed an 11-7 advantage in shots and a 4-1 margin in corner kicks.
(Courtesy of Southern Maine Sports Information)
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