by Courtney O’Clair
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Freshman Shannon Santamaria (Northfield, N.H.) scored a goal and two assists Tuesday afternoon to lead second-seeded Plymouth State University past visiting seventh-seeded Salem State College, 3-0, in the first round of the Little East Conference Field Hockey Tournament at rainy and raw Arold Field.
The Panthers advance to the semifinals Friday at Keene State, where they will face third-seeded Southern Maine at 2:30 p.m. USM advanced Tuesday with a 6-0 win over sixth-seeded Framingham State.
Plymouth State broke a scoreless tie Tuesday with no time on the first-half clock after finishing off a penalty corner. A stunning corner play it was with junior Caitlin Moran (Rowley, Mass.) scoring after receiving a pass from Santamaria.
With the adrenalin still in the Panthers from their first goal, they came out 22 seconds into the second half with freshman Melanie Bates (Derry, N.H.) setting up Santamaria for her seventh goal of the season. The final tally for Plymouth State was on a superb pass from Santamaria to sophomore Lilly Silva (Lowell, Mass.), who notched her team-leading 11th goal of the season.
PSU finished with a 33-13 advantage in shots. PSU senior goalkeeper Kerry Brady (Jefferson, N.H.) finished with 10 saves on the day while SSC keeper Meaghan Oskirko (Lancaster, Mass.) was busy, making 17 saves.
The Panthers will meet Southern Maine Friday in a rematch of the Oct. 1 game in Plymouth, won by PSU 3-2. The LEC Championship game is set for Saturday at noontime at Keene State.
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