USM Downs ECSU in LEC Quarterfinals

GORHAM, Maine -- Junior Nicole LaPlante (South Portland, Maine) scored three first-half goals as the fourth-seeded Southern Maine lacrosse team built a 9-1 lead by halftime en route to a 13-5 victory over the fifth-seeded Eastern Connecticut Warriors in a quarterfinal round game of the 2014 Little East tournament Tuesday afternoon at Hannaford Field.

The win was the third straight for the Huskies and improved their overall record to 8-8. The Warriors concluded their season 3-13. The game was a re-match of last year's LEC title game that was won by the Warriors. The victory was the Huskies' fourth in 19 games all-time against the Warriors, and their second this season. The Huskies won the regular-season game at Eastern Connecticut 12-9.

Senior Rosie Forster (Andover, Mass.) led the Huskies' offense with five points on three goals and two assists. Senior Jacki Kelly (Brunswick, Maine) and rookie Lauren Lessard (Lewiston, Maine) scored two goals apiece, and senior Shelby Turcotte (Lewiston, Maine) had a goal and an assist. Senior goalie Kim Vogel (Sanford, Maine) was outstanding in the cage stopping 14 shots.

Five different players scored goals for the Warriors. Rookie goalie Taylor Emmerson (Colchester, Conn./Bacon Academy) recorded 12 saves in the Warrior goal.

Playing their best half of the season in the opening 30 minutes, the Huskies patiently built up their lead. Forster gave the home side a 1-0 lead just over three minutes into the game. LaPlante scored three times in a span of 2:58 in the middle third of the period to push the lead up to 4-0. LaPlante's first two markers came just 11 seconds apart.

Turcotte and senior Jenna Cyr (Limerick, Maine/Massabesic), set up by Turcotte, increased the margin to 6-0 by the 11:39 mark.

Freshman Devyne Doran (South Kingstown, R.I.) got the Warriors on the board at 11:01 with an unassisted marker.

Rookie Raquel Heitor (Danbury, Conn.), Forster and Lessard would find the net in the final 10 minutes to make it 9-1 at the break. Heitor and Lessard scored on free-position attempts.

Senior Ashley Wolk (Barrington, R.I.) scored on a free-position attempt six minutes into the second half for the Warriors, but the Huskies defense and Vogel would not allow the Warriors to get any closer. Kelly, Forster and Lessard scored over the next 11 minutes to make it 12-2 with 12:53 to play.

Seniors Kelsea Burkhardt (Old Saybrook, N.Y.) and Erin Conn (Moriches, N.Y.) and rookie Paige Schneider (East Lyme, Conn.) scored for Eastern while the Huskies countered with a goal from Kelly in the final 10 minutes to account for the final tally. Conn and Schneider scored 16 seconds apart inside of two minutes to play.

Southern Maine had a 30-24 edge in shots and won the battle for ground balls 26-22. Rookie Kaelyn Kuni (Waterboro, Maine/Massabesic) picked up a game-high six ground balls, and Forster had four draw controls and scooped four ground balls. Eastern held a 12-8 advantage for draw controls with Doran corralling a team-high four.

With the win, Southern Maine advances to a semifinal game at top-seeded Keene State College on Friday (2:00 p.m.). KSC won the regular-season game between the two sides in overtime 10-8.


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