PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Second-seeded Plymouth State University scored 10 second-half goals to pull away from fourth-seeded Keene State College Sunday afternoon, defeating the Owls 13-6 to capture the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Women’s Lacrosse Championship at rainy Arold Field.
The Panthers captured their second title in three years, having also won the championship in 2003. PSU won eight of its last nine games to complete the spring with a 13-5 overall record. Keene State, the defending ECAC champion, wraps up its season at 10-9.
(At left, co-captains Kate O’Donnell (#7) and Meghan O’Neil (#19) accept the championship award for the team.)
The upset-minded Owls, who were defeated by PSU two previous times this season, had a 2-0 lead 10 minutes into the game. The Panthers scored the next two to tie it up, and each team scored in the final five minutes of the half to make it 3-3 at the intermission.
Plymouth State opened the second half with four unanswered goals in the first six minutes. Keene State answered with two goals to cut the margin to 7-5, but the Panthers pulled away, taking an 11-6 lead with 10 minutes to play and holding on for the win.
Sophomore Kelsey MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, Mass.) was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after another dominating performance in the midfield. She collected 10 ground balls and five draw controls while causing seven Keene State turnovers. MacDonald, who is pictured at right receiving the MOP Award from ECAC Director of Championships Kyle Kravchuk and PSU President Donald P. Wharton, also contributed a goal and an assist to the Panther cause.
Junior Bethany Brown (Norwich, Conn.) led the Panther offense with four goals and an assist, while junior Nicole Evans (Scituate, Mass.) added a goal and three assists and sophomore Meg Cupoli (Southboro, Mass.) chipped in with two goals and two assists. Sophomores Annie Pinault (Framingham, Mass.) and Amanda Spadafora (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) also scored twice each, and junior Caitlyn Irving (Avon, Conn.) scored once.
Brown and Evans also reached significant milestones for PSU. Brown has moved into third place on the school’s all-time scoring list with 190 points (147 goals, 43 assists), and Evans became the 15th player in school history to go over 100 points, as she now has 102 (58 goals, 44 assists).
Senior Michelle Mason (Fairport, N.Y.) led the Owls with two goals and an assist, finishing her season with 70 goals and 21 assists. Freshmen Andrea Mitchell (Bow, N.H.) and Lanaya Nelson (Chester, Conn.) and juniors Alexandra Manzin (Avon, Conn.) and Kristal Lundegaard (Babylon, N.Y.) added one goal each for the Owls.
Junior Mandy Gray (Sharon, Mass.) played a strong game in the KSC goal, making 14 saves, including nine in the first half. PSU sophomore Suzie Lilakos (Stratham, N.H.) and senior Kristin Elliott (Exeter, N.H.) combined to make six saves.
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