GORHAM, Maine – Sophomore Samantha Ellis (New Vineyard, Maine/Mt. Blue) scored a pair of fourth quarter goals to lift the fourth-seed University of Southern Maine Huskies to a 2-0 win over the fifth-seed Castleton University Spartans in quarterfinal action of the 2019 Little East Conference tournament Tuesday evening at Hannaford Field.
With the win, Southern Maine extends its win streak to five contests and improves to 13-8 overall. Southern Maine has won its last three games over the Spartans and holds the series record at 3-1-0. Castleton, a 2018 LEC finalist, concludes its season at 11-8.
Southern Maine finished the 2019 LEC regular season at 10-2 and in a three-way tie for second place, eventually taking the fourth seed after the conference's tie-breaking procedures. Castleton went 8-4 during the LEC regular season. Southern Maine had defeated the Spartans this past Saturday on a fourth-quarter goal.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
After an evenly played three quarters the Huskies and Spartans remained deadlocked in a scoreless contest. However, Ellis wasted little time in the fourth to get her team on the board with her 10th goal of the season.
Awarded a penalty corner, Ellis hustled into a diving effort off of an initial save to tip the ball into the cage just 1:08 into the fourth for a 1-0 USM advantage. Castleton pressured for an equalizer with shots on goal in the 52nd and 54th minute with solid attempts from freshman Kaitlin Bardellini (Northfield, N.H.) and junior Allison Lowell (Brandon, Vermont), but USM sophomore goalkeeper Lindsay Pych (West Milford, N.J.) made both saves to preserve the Huskies one-goal lead.
Clinging to its 1-0 lead, Southern Maine got an insurance goal from Ellis in the 57th minute. On another penalty corner, Ellis took a forward pass from sophomore Mikayla Bourassa (West Gardiner, Maine) and hit a reverse stick shot for her team leading 11th goal of the season.
Pych earned her ninth shutout of the season making four saves for the Huskies. Castleton senior Tashia Pashby-Rockwood (Williston, Vermont) made three saves and several strong defensive clears in a losing effort. After being knotted up with three shots a piece in the first half, Southern Maine outshot Castleton 10-4 in the second half to lead 13-7.
Southern Maine advances to the 2019 Little East Conference semifinals and will face the winner of the No. 1 Worcester State vs. No. 8 UMass Dartmouth game played tonight.