MANSFIELD, Conn. -- Five different University of Southern Maine players contributed to a decisive 6-1 run over 17 minutes early in the second half as the Huskies posted their first Little East Conference win of the year with a 12-9 victory over Eastern Connecticut State University Saturday at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
At right: Paige Schneider
In a re-match of last year's LEC playoff title game – won by Eastern – Southern Maine trailed three times in the game, but never by more than one goal. Down 6-5 four minutes into the second half, Southern Maine (5-7, 1-2 Little East) ran off six of the next seven goals to move out to an 11-7 advantage with just under eight minutes left.
Freshman Lauren Lessard scored twice in the stretch, and senior Jackie Kelly contributed two assists as Southern Maine defeated Eastern (3-11, 2-3 Little East) for only the third time in this 18-game series.
Junior Nicole Laplante had a hand in Southern Maine's quick 3-0 start by assisting on the first two goals and scoring the third. The Warriors countered with the next four, and took their final lead at 6-5 on freshman Paige Schneider's (East Lyme) 20th goal of the season four minutes into the second half. Kelly tied it with her 20th, however, and Lesard potted her first of the game on an assist from Laplante to put the Huskies ahead for good, 7-6, eight minutes into the second half.
Senior Katie Grenier led USM to a 25-16 advantage in ground balls with a game-high five, with 12 different Huskies picking up at least one. Senior Rosie Forster won five draws for the winners.
Senior Ashley Wolk (Barrington, RI) scored three of Eastern's goals and also picked up two ground balls and won two draws, with senior Erin Conn (Moriches, NY) scoring twice and leading Eastern with five draws.
Southern Maine senior goalie Kim Vogel made ten saves. Freshman Taylor Emmerson (Colchester) made eight of her 11 saves in the second half when the visitors outshot Eastern 2-to-1.
Eastern closes out the regular season Wednesday at Western Connecticut State University at 6 p.m. Six of seven teams make the LEC playoffs, which get underway April 29 with two first-round games. The top two seeds game byes in the first round and the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds host the No. 6 and No. 5 seeds, respectively, in the first round.