Southern Maine Overcomes Western Connecticut 11-10

Sophomore Nicole LaPlante (#8) scored three goals as the Huskies overcame a six-goal deficit to defeat Western Connecticut 11-10.
Sophomore Nicole LaPlante (#8) scored three goals as the Huskies overcame a six-goal deficit to defeat Western Connecticut 11-10.

(With contributions from Western Connecticut Sports Information)

Southern Maine Overcomes Western Connecticut 11-10

            DANBURY, Conn. -- Junior Jacki Kelly (Brunswick, Maine) scored with 6:52 to play to snap a tie game as the University of Southern Maine Huskies overcame a six-goal first-half deficit to defeat the Western Connecticut State University Colonials, 11-10, in Little East Conference women's lacrosse action Saturday afternoon at the Westside Athletic Complex.

            The win improved the Huskies record to 8-4 overall and 2-0 in the conference.  The Colonials suffered their second straight loss to slip to 5-6 overall and 2-1 in conference play.

            The Huskies fell behind 8-2 in the opening 21 minutes of play before rallying for the win, capped off by Kelly's game-winning marker with 6:52 left.

            For Southern Maine, sophomore Nicole LaPlante (South Portland, Maine) led the way with three goals, while Kelly, freshman Sarah Pelligrinelli (Southington, Conn.), and senior Lauren Santo (Salem, N.H.) each scored twice.  Junior Rosie Forster (Andover, MA) handed out three assists for the Huskies.  Junior goalie Kim Vogel (Sanford, Maine) made 14 saves in collecting the win for USM.

            Western Connecticut senior Nicole Perrone (Brookfield, Conn.) led all scorers with five goals.  Senior Lindsay Gorman (Killingworth, Conn.) had three goals.  Junior Kirsten Hudock (Newtown, Conn.) and sophomore Kelsey Heaton (New Milford, Conn.) each scored once.  Goalkeeper Karli Portnoy (Sea Cliff, N.Y.) recorded 17 saves in a losing effort.

            Southern Maine got on the board first with an unassisted goal by Pelligrinelli in the game's third minute.  Western answered when Heaton and Perrone scored back-to-back goals three minutes later.  Two goals by Gorman and another by Perrone put the Colonials up 5-1 with 17 minutes remaining in the half.

            Thirty seconds later, freshman Anh Nguyen (South Portland, Maine) narrowed the margin with Southern Maine's second goal, but a goal by Hudock and two more for Perrone extended the Western advantage to 8-2 with nine minutes remaining in the half.  Two goals by LaPlante in the final two minutes of the half made the score 8-4 at intermission.

            Southern Maine wasted little time getting the offense rolling in the second half, scoring a goal in the first 20 seconds of play.  The game went scoreless over the next 10 minutes as goaltending and defense dominated, but at the 19:28 mark LaPlante scored for the Huskies.  When Pelligrinelli scored a minute later, the Western lead had narrowed to 8-7.

            Perrone and Gorman seemed to turn the momentum back in favor of the Colonials with back-to-back goals and a 10-7 lead, but all of the scoring in the game's final 10 minutes belonged to Southern Maine.

            The biggest blow came when Santo scored two goals within 10 seconds, erasing a 10-8 Western lead and knotting the score at 10-10.  Kelly's unassisted goal at the 6:52 mark proved to be the game-winner.

            Southern Maine returns home to host Rhode Island College in a Little East Conference game on Tuesday (3:30 p.m.).  Western Connecticut travels to Vassar College on Tuesday (6:00 p.m.) for a non-conference contest.