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PSU Women’s Soccer upsets Eastern Connecticut in season finale

Crawford and Schmidt combine to lift Panthers to upset victory

            MANSFIELD, Conn. – Freshman Emily Crawford (Wolfeboro, N.H.) came off the bench to score her first career goal midway through the second half Saturday afternoon as the Plymouth State University women's soccer team upset Eastern Connecticut State University, 1-0, in the Little East Conference regular season finale for both schools at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.

            Freshman Annaliese Schmidt (Newmarket, N.H.) made six saves for her second career shutout for PSU. Having already been eliminated for conference playoff contention, Plymouth State  had lost four of its previous five entering the match, but handed Eastern its  fifth 1-0 loss this season.

            The outcome was PSU's first triumph over the Warriors since a 3-1 home victory in 1998 – the ninth straight win for the Panthers over Eastern but the last until Saturday. Plymouth State wraps up the season with a 6-12-0 overall record, and a 2-5-0 mark in the LEC, while Eastern enters next week's LEC Tournament at 8-8-1 overall and 3-4-0 in conference play.

            Eastern outshot Plymouth State Saturday, 14-6, and held a 6-1 advantage in corner kicks, limiting the Panthers to only one first-half shot, but could not break through. The Panthers broke the scoreless deadlock in the 63rd minute when Eastern freshman keeper Chelsea Santos (Windsor Locks, Conn.) was unable to possess Cawford's shot, which was set up by senior Carol Messler (Durham, NH). The drive caromed off the top of the crossbar and kicked to the ground, but Santos was unable to handle the ball as it landed just over the goal line.

            Schmidt made four saves in the second half, with three of her stops coming against Eastern senior Tamar Merheb (Bethel, Conn.). Merheb threatened several times, taking six of the team's shots. Merheb made a bid to give the Warriors the lead in the first minute of play, but her header off a cross from sophomore Brianna Curcio (Southbury, Conn.) drew the crossbar and bounced away.

            Curcio nearly set up senior Blair Church (New London, Conn.) with the first goal midway through the first half but the shot sailed just wide. Schmidt made an early save off a shot from Eastern senior Kaitlyn Kennedy (Burlington, Conn.) that was set up by Merheb, and Schmidt came up big again on a bid by senior Nicole Leonard (Rutherford, NJ) eight minutes later.

 (Courtesy of Eastern Connecticut Sports Information)

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