May 3, 2013

Warriors Jolt Top Seed Plymouth in LEC Semis

PLYMOUTH, N.H. Juniors Christine Lillis (Waterford) and Erin Conn (Moriches, NY) scored goals 12 seconds apart midway through the second half Friday afternoon, breaking a 6-6 tie and fifth-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University held on for a stunning 8-6 victory over top-seeded Plymouth State University in a Little East Conference women's lacrosse tournament semifinal game at PSU's Arold Field.

                                            At right: Erin Conn drew the attention of the Plymouth defense Friday

The goals by Lillis and Conn gave the Warriors the lead back with 13:36 remaining after PSU had rallied from a 6-3 halftime deficit to tie the game.  Both teams' defenses held their ground the rest of the way as Eastern pulled off the upset, avenging an 11-7 setback to PSU earlier this season.

The Warriors (6-11) advance to the LEC championship game Sunday at second-seeded University of Southern Maine (12-6) at 1 p.m.; the Huskies edged third-seeded Keene State College in Friday's other semifinal,13-12.  Eastern will be making its 10th LEC Championship game appearance, seeking its fourth title and first since 2008. The Huskies edged the top-seeded Warriors, 15-14, in the 2010 final at Mansfield, Conn., and posted a 16-10 win at Gorham two weeks ago.

Plymouth State had its eight-game winning streak snapped and winds up its season at 12-3 overall.  The Panthers were upset in the LEC semifinals for the second year in a row after capturing the regular season title with a 6-0 mark.

Conn and junior Taylor Shannon (Waterford) led the Warriors with three goals apiece, while senior Daniela Marchitto (Orange) and Lillis tallied one each. Conn also assisted on the game-winning goal by Lillis.

Sophomore Meghan McNabb scored two goals to lead the home team, while senior Caitlin Swanson, sophomores Amy MacDonald and Molly Gleason and freshman Emily Tilton added one each.

Junior Haley Heslin (Hartford) recorded the victory in goal for Eastern, making seven saves.  Junior Lorin Field also made seven saves in the Panther goal.

The teams traded goals in the first three minutes of the game, Shannon scoring the first goal for Eastern and Tilton answering for PSU.  The Warriors rattled off the next three goals, two by Conn and one by Shannon, to take a 4-1 lead with just under 12 minutes to play in the first half.  The teams alternated goals in the final six minutes and Eastern took a 6-3 margin into the break.

A determined PSU squad came out of halftime and scored three goals in the first 10 minutes to deadlock the score.  Swanson tallied her 38th of the season with 27:23 on the clock, McNabb followed with her 32nd with 23:51 showing, and MacDonald scored the tying goal, her 36th, on a free position shot with 20:05 to play.

Eastern pulled ahead with 13:48 on the clock when Conn set up Lillis for what turned out to be the game-winner, and Conn added her own goal 12 seconds later, with an assist by senior Rachel Meotti (Glastonbury).