April 30, 2013

This Time, Warriors Get Jump in LEC Playoff Win over Western

DANBURY, Conn. – Six days after falling behind by five goals early and never catching up against Western Connecticut State University, the Eastern Connecticut State University women's lacrosse team moved ahead by five goals early against the Colonials and never looked back en route to a 15-7 victory in the opening round of the Little East Conference playoffs at the Westside Athletic Complex.

As the No. 5 seed – its lowest seed ever in the playoffs – Eastern (5-11) advances to face No. 1 Plymouth State University (12-2) in the its 12th consecutive semifinal-round berth Friday at 3:30 p.m. Plymouth, which was upset by visiting Western in last year's semifinals as the No. 1 seed, drew a first-round bye.

In  the other semifinal Friday at 3:30 p.m., No. 3 Keene State College (11-6) visits No. 2 University of Southern Maine (11-6). Keene routed visiting Rhode Island College, 16-5, Tuesday. Southern Maine drew a bye.

The conference championship game is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. at the site of the highest remaining seed. Eastern cannot serve as the final host. Eastern has appeared in nine championship games, winning three.

After losing to Western (7-10) for the first time ever in this series in its final regular-season match last Wednesday, 17-8, Eastern countered by scoring the first five goals and six of the first seven on the way to a 7-2 halftime lead. The Warriors got out strong again in the second half, with Eastern winning its eight draw in 11 tries behind junior attack Erin Conn (Moriches, NY), and senior midfielder Daniela Marchitto (Orange) striking 23 seconds into the frame. Conn added another less than five minutes later to boost the lead to 9-2 and the Warriors were never threatened the rest of the way.

Season scoring leaders Marchitto and Conn, who combined for only three goals in last week's loss to Western, each had four goals this time, which junior midfielder Ashley Wolk (Barrington, RI) chipping in three and junior attack Christine Lillis (Waterford) coming off the bench for two goals. Junior attack Alexa Foldy (Brookfield) added two assists and a goal.

Junior midfielder Taylor Shannon (Waterford) won five ground balls and three draws and forced four turnovers, Conn won six draws, senior defender Rachel Meotti (Glastonbury) forced five turnovers and picked up three ground balls, and senior defender Samantha Barone (Plainedge, NY) forced four turnovers and won three ground balls.

Eastern allowed its least number of goals since a 17-6 LEC victory at Rhode Island College a month ago.

Two weeks ago, Plymouth sent the Warriors to their fourth straight loss with an 11-7 victory at Plymouth, NH. The win over Western snaps a three-goal losing streak and gives Eastern its second road win of the season in  seven contests.