Worcester, MA --- Behind three goals and two assists by sophomore Jackie Connors (Ashland, MA), second-seeded Worcester State defeated #3 Westfield State 12-9 in the MASCAC Tournament Semifinals this evening at Coughlin Memorial Field.
The Lancers, winners of their last seven games, improve their record to 12-3 with the victory. They advance to the league tournament title game to take on Saturday to take on top-seed and defending champion Bridgewater State at 1 o'clock.
The Owls see their campaign come to a close at 9-9.
Sophomore Kaila Chase (Northbridge, MA) also notched a hat-trick to help pace the Blue and Gold offensively while freshman teammates Angelina Sutherland (Tyngsboro, MA) and Alaina Martin (E. Longmeadow, MA) both tallied twice.
Second-year Katelyn Murphy (Billerica, MA) distinguished herself defensively with five ground balls and a pair of forced miscues.
Junior Stephanie Lenhardt (Duxbury, MA) notched five points with three assists to help pace Westfield State as sophomore Blair Smith (Milford, MA) chipped in with a trio of goals and four draw controls.
Senior Jen Carew (Billerica, MA) had five ground balls and a trifecta of draws to help lead the charge on the back line for the Owls.
Chase and Connors hit home back-to-back scores to help give the Lancers the early 2-0 margin before senior Lee Meskevich (Becket, MA) and sophomore Roni Orcutt (Granville, MA) answered by knotting up the contest at the 17:05 mark.
Worcester State, however, closed out the period with a 3-1 run over the final 12 minutes of the stanza.
Chase notched an unassisted tally with 11:07 on the clock and Martin scored a key free position marker as 17 ticks remained in the frame to help give the hosts the 5-3 advantage at the intermission.
The Lancers took control to start off the second period by doubling up their opponents 6-3 and opened up an 11-6 lead with 13:43 left in regulation.
Eight-meter shots by Chase and junior Angela Grassetti (Agawam, MA) bookended the skein with eight meter shots for Worcester State as Sutherland also registered two goals for the hosts. Lenhardt found the back of the net twice and she assisted another score to help the visitors keep pace.
Westfield State attempted a rally with a 3-1 surge as Eaton started things off with a free position goal at the 11:06 mark before Smith recorded consecutive markers to help the Owls trail 12-9 just 3½ minutes later.
Sophomore net minder Mimi Khampaeng (Hamden, MA) helped preserve the deficit with a pair of stops in the final minutes of regulation, but the visitors turned the ball over three times offensively and were held without a shot in the final seven minutes of the contest.
Freshman goalkeeper Lea Robichaud (Holden, MA) improved her record to 12-3 with the victory as she finished with six stops and a duo of ground balls. Khampaeng was active with seven saves, two ground balls and a pair of forced miscues.
In what proved to be a nearly even contest between the two squads, Worcester State held slim margins in shots (21-16), attempts on goal (16-15), ground balls (16-14) and draws (12-11). The Lancers also were effective on clears (15-for-17) and converted five of their seven tries from the eight-meter line.
Westfield State finished 10-for-13 on clears while going three-for-five on their free possession bids.
With her two markers this evening, Connors now has 34 assists on the campaign to establish a new standard in the category. She broke the previous mark 2006 mark that had been held by WSU Hall of Famer Ann Clark.