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Saturday, May 7, 2005

 NCAA-bound Warriors hand top-seed Plymouth first-ever LEC loss, 12-8

PLYMOUTH, NH --  The second-seeded women’s lacrosse team handed top-seeded Plymouth State University its first-ever Little East Conference loss, 12-8, in the championship game of the 2005 conference tournament Saturday afternoon at Arold Field.


NCAA TOURNAMENT -- Wednesday, May 11 -- First Round

Warriors at Springfield College, Time TBA


 By winning its first conference title, Eastern (12-6) qualifies automatically for its first NCAA Division III tournament, which gets underway with first-round games Wednesday. The conference loss was the first for Plymouth (10-5) after 30 straight wins. The Panthers have won all four regular-season conference titles and had won the first three tournaments, twice defeating Eastern in the final.


A winner of six straight and 12 of 14 since an 0-4 start, Eastern broke a 6-6 tie by scoring four straight goals  to take a 10-6 lead. Eastern never allowed the hosts to score as many as two straight the rest of the way.


After giving away early leads and losing to Plymouth the last two times the teams met, the Warriors played patiently this time and possessed  the ball for a large portion of the game. They trailed only once – by one goal – in the early going. Down 2-1, Eastern scored three straight to take a 4-2 lead with eight minutes left in the first half.


“We wanted to control the tempo of the game,” noted sixth-year head coach Kathy Railey “We wanted to force them to run and intimidate them with our defense (when they got close to the goal). They do a good job of cutting to the goal. We didn’t want to get into a 1-v-1 game with them. We wanted it to be 1-v-3 of our players.”


Senior attack Mo Deegan (WESTPORT) scored her 100th point of the season in the opening minutes of play, but an ankle injury suffered two weeks ago limited her ability to attack the net (she took only four shots, scoring on three of them). Instead, Deegan quarterbacked the team, drawing defenders away from teammates and passing off for two assists.


Sophomore defender Kara Bradley (NORTH HAVEN) was named the tournament’s MVP. In two games, she had five ground balls, won five draws, caused five turnovers, scored three goals and was credited with four assists.


                                  Tournament MVP Kara Bradley


Taking a lead into the final minutes, Eastern was able to salt away the win by maintaining possession. In the second half, Plymouth managed only six shots from the field to go along with two free-position attempts.


“There was no way that we were going to hand them this win. They were going to have to take it from us.” noted Railey. “The team which was mentally strongest was going to win this game, We had fallen apart against Plymouth the last two times we played. We had the mentality that ‘we’re not supposed to beat Plymouth.’ It had become a mental block,” admitted the head coach.

“We had talked about that this week. The players were relaxed. They were able to deal with the emotional aspect of the game.”


Redshirt freshman defender Emily Constant (FRANKLIN) led Eastern with seven ground balls and four caused turnovers, with Deegan and Bradley each coming up with three draws.


Megan Gloster (12): Two key goals


With Eastern looking to protect a 4-3 halftime lead, senior attack Ashley Able (MYSTIC) and freshmen midfielders Lily Anderson (PORTLAND, ME) and Megan Gloster (AGAWAM, MA) each scored twice in the second half. Gloster scored twice and Anderson once in the team’s decisive  run of four straight goals that allowed them to take charge, 10-6, with 5:37 left. In the game, Eastern scored its goals on just 18 shots.


First-year sophomore goalie Erin Calkins (STONY BROOK, NY) made six saves to record her 12th win of the season. She has played every minute of every game this year.


The post-season bid is the fourth straight for Eastern. The Warriors had advanced to the championship game of the last three ECAC New England tournaments, winning the crown in 2002.


Eastern Conn. 12, Plymouth State U. 8


Eastern Conn. (12-6)                    4            8            --           12

Plymouth State (10-5)                  3            5            --             8


              Scoring: E-Mo Deegan 3-2, Ashley Able 3-0, Lily Anderson 2-1, Megan Gloster 2-0, Kara Bradley 1-1, Jenna Faiola 1-0; P-Kelsey MacDonald 4-1, Nicole Evans 2-0, Liz Boddy 1-0, Caitlyn Irving 1-0, Amanda Spadafora 0-1, Meg Cupoli 0-1, Annie Pinault 0-1.

              Shots: E-18, P-22; Saves: E-Erin Calkins 6, Kristin Elliott 4 (54:23 min., 10 goals allowed), Suzie Lilakos 0 (5:37 min., 2 goals allowed).


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