Fifth-Seeded Eastern Connecticut Upsets Southern Maine 10-7 in LEC Championship Game

Senior Lauren Santo (white jersey) had a goal and one assist in the LEC title game against Eastern Connecticut.
Senior Lauren Santo (white jersey) had a goal and one assist in the LEC title game against Eastern Connecticut.

Little East Conference Championship Game

Eastern Connecticut Upsets Southern Maine 10-7

            GORHAM, Maine -- Senior Taylor Buchanan (Ellington, Conn.) had a game-high five points (four goals, one assist) to lead the fifth-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University Warriors to a 10-7 victory over the second-seeded University of Southern Maine Huskies in the championship game of the 2013 Little East Conference Women's Lacrosse Tournament Sunday afternoon at Hannaford Field.

            The win was the third straight victory on the road for the Warriors who will receive the automatic berth into the NCAA tournament that begins this week.  The Warriors, who won their fourth LEC title overall and first since 2008, became the just the second fifth seed to run the table and win the LEC tournament.  The Warriors will take a 7-11 mark into the NCAA tournament.

            Southern Maine, playing its third LEC title game (all against Eastern Connecticut), finished the season 12-7 and will await a possible ECAC postseason tournament invitation.

            Junior Erin Conn (Moriches, N.Y.), who was named the Most Outstanding Player, had two goals and an assist, and played a strong all-around game for the Warriors.  Junior Alexa Foldy (Brookfield, Conn.) also had two goals.  Senior Rachel Meotti (Glastonbury, Conn.) was a stalwart on defense scooping up a game-high ground balls.  Junior goalie Haley Heslin (Hartford, Conn.) recorded four saves.

            For the Huskies, rookie Sarah Pelligrinelli (Southington, Conn.) had two goals while junior Rosie Forster (Andover, Mass.) and senior Lauren Santo (Salem, N.H.) each had a goal and an assist.  Junior goalie Kim Vogel (Sanford, Maine) stopped seven shots.

            Southern Maine grabbed a 1-0 lead 17 seconds into the game as sophomore Nicole LaPlante (South Portland, Maine) netted an unassisted goal.

            The Huskies' lead lasted just over four minutes before Conn scored her first goal, assisted by Buchanan, to tie the score at 25:37.  Conn gave the Warriors the lead for good just under three minutes later with her second marker.

            A pair of ECSU goals from junior Ashley Wolk (Barrington, R.I.) and Buchanan 32 seconds apart pushed the lead to 4-1 midway through the half.  Over the final 15 minutes, the teams would trade goals leaving Eastern with a 6-3 advantage at halftime.  Pelligrinelli had both USM goals while Foldy and Buchanan countered for Eastern.

            Eastern kept the momentum in the opening five minutes of the second half increasing its lead to 8-3 on goals by junior Taylor Shannon (Waterford, Conn.) and Buchanan.

            Southern Maine responded with a spurt of three goals in a span of 2:15 to get back into the game.  Forster ignited the outburst at 24:34, followed by goals from Santo and junior Jenna Cyr (Limerick, Maine/Massabesic) at 23:30 and 22:19 respectively.

            Foldy and Buchanan dashed the Huskies hopes with goals that extended the lead back up to four, 10-6.

            Junior Jacki Kelly (Brunswick, Maine) got one back for the Huskies with 5:51 to go, but the Warriors were able maintain lots of possession taking valuable time off the clock over the final five minutes and effectively thwarting the Huskies.