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W-Lacrosse: Deja Vu All Over Again

For second time in two years, Warriors edge Western in OT by 14-13 score

meotti 72_6061.jpg

Note: The No. 3 seeded Warriors will host No. 6 seed Rhode Island College in an opening-round match of the 2012 LEC playoffs Tuesday at 4 p.m. at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex. A win would move the Warriors into a Friday semifinal match at defending playoff champion and No. 2 seeded Keene State College. On Saturday, Plymouth State University won its sixth outright LEC championship (first outright title since winning the fifth of five straight in 2006) and as the No. 1 seed, will play Friday at home against  the winner of a Tuesday first-round contest between No. 4 University of Southern Maine and No. 5 Western Connecticut. Eastern defeated Rhode Island, 14-7, at home March 31 in its LEC opener and lost at Keene State, 11-6, a week later.

DANBURY, Conn. - The similarities were striking and the result was again welcome when the Little East Conference women's lacrosse match between Eastern Connecticut State University  and Western Connecticut State University was decided in overtime for the second straight season.

Above: Rachel Meotti

The result of Wednesday's match played at the Westside Athletic Complex was identical to the outcome from a year ago at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex, when the Warriors emerged with a 14-13 victory. Both matches were decided in a second overtime, and in both, Eastern scored first and Western tied it in the first OT session, and in the second overtime, Eastern scored the game-winner in the final minute of both contests.

In 2011, Daniela Marchitto (Orange) scored an unassisted goal with 14 seconds left in the second overtime for the game-winner. Wednesday, junior defender Rachel Meotti (Glastonbury) converted her only goal of the match - also unassisted - with 33 seconds left that spelled the difference.

And in both games, the Eastern and Western goalies made the same number of saves. In 2011, Nancy Ibrahim stopped 13 shots as the winning goalie, while Karli Portnoy made 18 saves. Wednesday, Eastern senior goalie Kristianna Ibsen (Shelton) was credited with 13 and Portnoy again finished with 18.

The match closes out the conference and regular season for Eastern (11-6, 4-2 Little East), which,unofficially, will be locked in as the No. 3 seed in the six-team field when the LEC playoff get underway Tuesday with first-round matches. The Warriors will host the undetermined No. 6 seed at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex. Western (10-6, 2-3 Little East) visits Keene State College in Saturday's regular-season finale, currently sharing fourth place in the conference with the University of Southern Maine.

It marks the  first time since 2006 that Eastern will not finish with at least a share of the regular-season crown. The No. 3 seed will be its second-lowest in the  11-year history of the playoffs, behind only its No. 4 seed in 2004, when it finished in a three-way tie for second in the final standings.

Unofficially, Plymouth State will earn its first No. 1 seed since 2006, with Keene second and both will draw first-round byes. If it wins its first-round match, Eastern will  visit Keene in one semifinal a week from Friday in a re-match of last year's championship game (won by Keene. The final is scheduled for a week from Sunday at the highest remaining seed.

Since losing to Keene in overtime at home in the 2009 championship game, Eastern has now won four straight conference games decided in overtime.  In 2010, the Warriors edged host Plymouth in OT, 11-10, in the LEC semifinals. Last year, they went four overtimes to down Keene, 15-14, in Mansfield,  before their 14-13 triumph over visiting Western.

Wednesday, Meotti caused a turnover in the Western end of the field with 44 ticks left and raced virtually untouched the length of the field and slipped one by Portnoy, this week's LEC Goalie of the Week, for the game-ending goal.

Eastern senior attack Ashley Prizio (Brookfield) forced overtime when she scored her fourth goal of the match with 32 seconds left in regulation. Both teams scored once in the first six-minute overtime period, Eastern sophomore attack Christine Lillis (Waterford) recording her only goal of the match two minutes into the session and Devon Edwards answering for Western just less than two minutes later.

Although the pace of play became more deliberate in the second half, neither team could pull away as the game was deadlocked five times and there were three lead changes.

Marchitto and Prizio each had four goals and an assist as the only Eastern players with more than one score. Sophomore attack Erin Conn (Moriches, NY) won six draws and Prizio four and Meotti caused eight turnovers and scooped up seven ground balls. Sophomore midfielder Ashley Wolf (Barrington, RI) added five ground balls.



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