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Southern Maine Downs Keene State 13-12 in LEC Semifinal

Southern Maine Downs Keene State 13-12 in LEC Semifinal
Junior Jenna Cyr, seen here earlier in the season against Castleton State, scored a free-position goal with 1:15 to play to give USM a 13-12 win over Keene State in a Little East Conference tournament semifinal game.

Huskies Host LEC Title Game on Sunday Against Eastern Conn.

            GORHAM, Maine -- Junior Jenna Cyr (Limerick, Maine/Massabesic) converted a free-position attempt with 1:15 left to play in regulation to propel the University of Southern Maine to a 13-12 victory over Keene State College in a Little East Conference women's lacrosse semifinal game Friday afternoon at Hannaford Field.

            The victory vaults the second-seeded Huskies into the LEC title game on Sunday (1:00 p.m.) against fifth-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University.  Eastern Connecticut earned the right to play USM for the championship by upsetting top-seeded Plymouth State University 8-6 in the other semifinal.  The winner of Sunday's title game will receive an automatic berth into the 2013 NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament.

            The win was the Huskies' 12th of the season, setting a school record for wins in a season eclipsing the old record of 11 set in 2010.  The Huskies will take a 12-6 record into the championship match.  Keene State finishes the season 11-7.

            USM senior Lauren Santo (Salem, N.H.) caused a turnover in the Keene State end and got the ball to Cyr who was awarded a free-position attempt.  On the whistle, Cyr took a couple steps in and beat Keene State junior goalie Erin Taylor (Brewster, N.Y.) from about six meters out for the game-winning goal.  Cyr won the ensuing draw control and the Huskies were able to run out the clock to preserve the win.

            Southern Maine had to come from behind twice in the second half.  Keene State, led by three goals from senior Lauren Brown (Agawam, Mass.), erased a two-goal halftime deficit by outscoring USM 4-1 in the opening nine minutes of the second half to grab a 9-8 lead.

            Freshman Sarah Pelligrinelli (Southington, Conn.) sparked a three-goal run by the Huskies with a pair of free-position goals.  Junior Rosie Forster (Andover, Mass.) netted the third goal in the run to give the Huskies an 11-9 lead.  The three goals came within a span of 1:47.

            The Owls swing the momentum back their way with three straight goals to assume a 12-11 lead.  Junior Eliza Witherbee (Newburyport, Mass.) start the string of KSC goals converting a free-position shot at 15:35.  Brown scored her fourth goal of the day to tie the game, and senior Nicole Curry (Hampstead, N.H.) gave the Owls the lead converting a pass from Witherbee with 10:49 to play.

            Forster equalized for the Huskies 14 seconds after Curry's goal by converting a free-position attempt.

            With the game tied, both sides hit the iron over the next nine minutes before Cyr netted the game winner.  KSC freshman Kaitlin Nolan (Mahopac, N.Y.) hit the post with 8:30 to go, and Forster clanked a shot off the iron with 2:03 to go.

            Pelligrinelli led the Huskies' offense with four goals.  Forster finished the day with three goals, and Cyr and junior Jacki Kelly (Brunswick, Maine) tallied two goals apiece.  Junior goalie Kim Vogel (Sanford, Maine) stopped eight shots to earn her 11th win of the season.

            Witherbee led all scorers with six points on four goals and two assists.  Brown also had four goals, and Curry had four points on a goal and three assists.  Nolan chipped in two goals.  Taylor finished the game with 11 saves.