Western Connecticut Upends Southern Maine in LEC Tourney

GORHAM, Maine -- Sophomore goalie Karli Portnoy (Sea Cliff, N.Y.) stopped 22 shots, including 16 in the second half, as fifth-seeded Western Connecticut upset fourth-seeded Southern Maine, 12-10, Tuesday afternoon in a first round playoff game of the 2012 Little East Conference tournament at Hannaford Field.

The win moves the Colonials into Friday's semifinal round against top-seeded Plymouth State University. The Colonials snapped a three-game losing skid to improve to 11-7 overall, and avenged a 16-9 regular-season loss at the hands of the Huskies. The Huskies finish their season 7-11.

Portnoy did an outstanding job throughout the game thwarting the Southern Maine shooters. She stopped 16 shots in the second half as USM tried to mount a comeback from a 10-5 deficit over the last 15 minutes.

Junior Emily Brooks (Kingston, N.Y.) paced the Colonials' offense scoring three goals. Junior Devon Edwards (Islip, N.Y.) and sophomores Hyla Costello (Southington, Conn.) and Kirsten Hudock (Newtown, Conn.) each had two goals. Senior Jessica Bouwman (New Milford, Conn.) chipped in a goal and an assist. Junior defender Amanda Simon (Brick, N.J.) had a team-high four ground balls and caused four turnovers.

For USM, sophomore Jacki Kelly (Brunswick, Maine) led the way with three goals and an assist for four points. Freshman Julia Pearl (Essex Jct., Vt.) added two goals and an assist. Junior Shelby Turcotte (Lewiston, Maine) and sophomore Rosie Forster (Andover, Mass.) scored two goals apiece. Forster also had a USM single-game record 11 draw controls. Sophomore goalie Kim Vogel (Sanford, Maine) made seven saves and scooped up a game-high six ground balls.

The Colonials got off to a fast start taking a 3-0 lead in the opening 11 minutes on goals by senior Brianna Mitterando (Mastic Beach, N.Y.), Brooks and Edwards. Pearl finally got the Huskies on the board with 11:18 remaining in the half, but the Colonials responded with three consecutive scores from Brooks, senior Kaitlyn Arconti (Danbury, Conn.) and Costello in a span of 1:38 to open up a 6-1 advantage.

Forster would score twice and Turcotte once to offset a goal by Costello in the final eight minutes to make it 7-4 in favor of the visitors at halftime.

Kelly pulled the Huskies within two in the opening minute of the second half, but that would be the closest the Huskies would get to the Colonials until the final minute. Brooks and Hudock converted from free-position attempts, and Bouwman would find the net in a span of five minutes to push the Colonials' lead back up to five (10-5) with 22 minutes remaining.

The Colonials defense and Portnoy held the Huskies offense at bay for nearly 16 minutes before Turcotte and Kelly found the net to cut the margin to 10-7. Hudock and Edwards would sandwich a free-position goal from Kelly over the next nine minutes leaving the Huskies down four with 4:26 to play.

Pearl and senior Julia Gordon (Portland, Maine/Deering) scored goals 27 seconds apart for USM to close the gap to two with 1:11 left, but Western Connecticut were able to stave any further scoring.


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