Sixth Seed Southern Maine Rolls Into LEC Championship Game: USM 3, BSU 0

Sixth Seed Southern Maine Rolls Into LEC Championship Game: USM 3, BSU 0
(Courtesy of Southern Maine)
GORHAM, Maine  – Junior Lindsay Jackson (Readfield, Maine/Maranacook) and classmate Tayla Smedberg (Oxford, Maine/Oxford Hills) combined for three goals to lead the sixth-seed University of Southern Maine Huskies to a 3-0 win over the seventh-seed Bridgewater State University Bears in the first semifinal game of the 2016 Little East Conference Field Hockey Championship Wednesday afternoon at Hannaford Field.  

            With its win, Southern Maine advances to the championship game of the 2016 LEC Field Hockey tournament, and will face the winner of the top-seed Keene State versus fourth-seed Plymouth State game played later tonight.  The Huskies are now 9-12 on the season and are headed to the LEC Championship game for the first time since 2007.  Bridgewater State completes its season with an 11-7 record.  Both teams earned their bids to the semifinals with upset victories in the quarterfinal round. USM upset third-seed Westfield State 2-1, while BSU downed second-seed Worcester State 3-1.

            Jackson scored on the Huskies' first shot of the game, redirecting a driven ball from junior Kaitlin Hilton (Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy).  Hilton found Jackson in the circle after receiving the ball from senior Kyrstyn Keating (Freedom, Maine/Mount View) in the midfield.  BSU pressured the Huskies the remainder of the half, earning an 8-4 lead in shots, but Jackson's goal stood for the 1-0 USM lead at the break.  USM senior goalkeeper Amanda Kasbohm (York, Maine) made four of her eight saves in the game in the opening half was aided by a defensive save from sophomore Morgan Gray (Sangerville, Maine/Dexter Regional) in the 27th minute.  Gray's quick stick work saved a near goal from BSU junior Tori O'Dea (South Dennis, Mass./Dennis-Yarmouth Regional). 

            Holding onto a slim 1-0 lead, Southern Maine wasted little time doubling its advantage over the Bears as Smedberg notched her team-leading 10th goal of the season just 35 seconds into the second frame.   Smedberg benefitted by a strong individual effort from Keating who carried the ball into the circle before slotting in across the cage to Smedberg. 

            After the Huskies' second goal, BSU picked up the pressure and earned three consecutive penalty corners but were unable to get more than one shot on net.  The Bears continued to control possession for the next 10 minutes before the USM bench called timeout to reset in the 48th minute.  After the timeout, USM settled back in and Jackson scored her second goal of the game, and ninth of the season, in the 54th minute to give the Huskies a 3-0 advantage.  Smedberg set up the Jackson goal, carrying the ball down the right side before cutting into the circle and leaving the ball off to Jackson on the far side.

            Kasbohm earned her second shutout of the season, making eight saves in the win for Southern Maine.  BSU sophomore Allison Chappell (Raynham, Mass./Bridgewater-Raynham) made one save in the loss.