Southern Maine Women's Lax Falls to Plymouth State in LEC Title Game 12-7

Rookie Taylor Rinaldi scored two goals for USM against Plymouth State in the Little East Conference Championship game Sunday (file photo by Jason Johns).
Rookie Taylor Rinaldi scored two goals for USM against Plymouth State in the Little East Conference Championship game Sunday (file photo by Jason Johns).

Southern Maine Falls to Plymouth State 12-7 in LEC Title Game

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. -- In a battle of the top offensive team against the top defensive side, the second-seeded University of Southern Maine women's lacrosse team could not overcome a 5-0 halftime deficit and fell to top-seeded Plymouth State University 12-7 in the championship game of the 2019 Little East Conference Championship Tournament Sunday afternoon at Arold Field.

            Southern Maine, playing in the title game for the first time since 2013, and fourth time overall, finished the season 10-6 overall.  Plymouth State won its third straight title, and eighth since 2002, and will carry an 11-5 mark into the first round of the NCAA tournament.

            Senior Veronyca Daniels (Concord, N.H.) scored four goals overall, including three in the first half when the Panthers built a 5-0 advantage.  Daniels tallied her first two goals in the opening six minutes to stake the home side to a 2-0 edge.  Senior Sarah Thompson (Hooksett, N.H.) converted on a free-position attempt just past the eight-minute mark to increase the lead to 3-0.

            Daniels third goal of the half at 17:54 made it 4-0, and sophomore Elizabeth McLaughlin (Melvin Village, N.H.) found the net on a free-position try with 12 seconds remaining in the half.  PSU had a 17-7 advantage in shots during the opening 30 minutes.

            Southern Maine, which came into the tournament as the LEC top scoring offense, finally got on the board with a pair of goals 29 seconds apart early in the second half.  Junior Megan Violette (Portland, Maine/Deering) converted a feed from freshman Lindsey Keenan (Naples, Maine/Lake Region), and rookie Taylor Rinaldi (Freeport, Maine) posted an unassisted goal seconds later.

            A run of three PSU goals in a span of 2:31 pushed the lead up to 8-2.  The teams traded goals over the next 10 minutes leaving the Panthers up 10-4 with 9:31 to play.

            Two USM goals from Rinaldi and senior Aliza Jordan (Gorham, Maine) closed the gap to 10-6 with 5:31 to play, but PSU would outscore USM 2-1 over that span to clinch the win.

            Rinaldi led the Huskies' offense with a pair of goals.  Jordan, Keenan and senior Colleen Fleming (South Portland, Maine) all had a goal and an assist.  Jordan also had three draw controls and a game-high six ground balls.  Senior goalie Hala Van Nostrand (Granby, Conn.) stopped nine shots.

            Daniels led all scorers with five points on her four goals and one assist.  Thompson finished with two goals and one assist, and senior Sam Fiore (Merrimac, Mass.) scored twice.  Sophomore goalie Meaghan Allard (Amherst, N.H.) earned her eighth win of the season making 12 saves.

            Plymouth State piled up a 33-20 edge in shots and 12-9 advantage in draw controls during the game.  Southern Maine had a slim 18-17 advantage in ground balls.