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W-Lax: Warriors Alive in LEC Playoffs

Ibsen's save as time expires lifts them to 11-10 win over RIC

wlaxlec72dpi_0599.jpgMANSFIELD, Conn. - In the first round of the Little East Conference women's lacrosse playoffs Tuesday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.. Rhode Island College came about as close as it has ever come to defeating Eastern Connecticut State University.

Above Eastern'sAlexa Foldy (far left) and Erin Conn (20) chase Rhode Island's Molly Voyer in the first half of Tuesday's 11-10 win over the Anchorwomen. (Josh Dubinsky photo)

Seeded sixth among six teams in the playoffs, Rhode Island (4-11) battled third-seeded Eastern (12-6) in a match which featured five ties before the Warriors emerged with an 11-10 victory that pushed them into the LEC semifinals Friday at second-seeded Keene State College at 4 p.m. The defending playoff champion Owls drew a first-round bye. In Friday's other semifinal, No. 1 seed Plymouth State University will host fifth-seeded Western Connecticut, which eliminated fourth-seeded University of Southern Maine Tuesday, 12-10.

Against Eastern, senior attack Nicky Drolet scored three successive goals I a six-minute span late in the game to give the Anchorwomen a 10-9 before the Warriors got strikes from former high school teammates Christina Rully (Orange) and Daniela Marchitto (Orange), both junior midfielders to post their 13th win over Rhode Island in as many series matches. Eastern had come away with a 14-7 victory at Mansfield in the LEC opener for both schools a month ago.

Eastern senior goalie Kristianna Ibsen (Shelton) prevented the sixth tie of the match and certain overtime when she snagged a breakaway attempt by Rhode Island freshman attack Jessica Ricci as time expired. It appeared that Eastern would run out the clock when it had possession near midfield in the final seconds, but the Warriors turned the ball over when junior midfielder Courtney McKiernan picked up a ground ball and passed to sophomore attack Ashley Signoriello. Signoriello found an unmarked Ricci ahead of the field with a perfect lead pass in the final seconds. Ricci fired an uncontested shot from close range but Ibsen was equal to the bid, collecting the eye-level attempt  as time ran out.

Neither team led by more than three goals and Easetrn did not take its first lead until four minutes remained in the first half. With the Warriors down by one, senior attack Ashley Prizio (Brookfield) - last year's LEC Offensive Player-of-the-Year - and sophomore attack Erin Conn (Moriches, NY) scored three goals three minutes apart to give the hosts a 7-5 halftime lead.

An unassisted goal by  Eastern sophomore midfielder Alexa Foldy (Brookfield) made it 9-6 Eastern ten minutes into the second half and the Warriors maintained a slight edge until Drolet scored three straight  to give her team a 10-9 lead with 8:30 left.

Former high school teammates Foldy and Prizio each had three goals for Eastern and Ibsen made six saves.Drolet led the Anchorwomen with six goals and an assist and Signoriello scored three. Senior midfielder Jenna Childs won five draws and McKiernan came off the bench for five ground balls. Eastern sophomore midfielder Taylor Shannon (Waterford) won nine of 17 draws after taking only 22 all season long and also picked up four ground balls. Prizio won five draws and Rully led the Warriors with five ground balls.  Rhode Island sophomore goalie Taryn Carbone  made eight saves, five in the second half.


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