PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Freshman Mariah Luscher (Holderness, N.H.) talled the game-winning goal in the 43rd minute to lead Plymouth State University to a 3-1 win over Salem State University in a Little East Conference (LEC) field hockey game at Kennedy Field at the New Hampton School on Wednesday night.
Junior Kaihley Rafferty (Salem, Conn.) put the Panthers ahead in the first half, but junior Casie Curtin (Wrentham, Mass.) scored the equalizer less than seven minutes into the second half. Luscher's fifth goal of the year put PSU right back in front less than a minute later and sophomore Haley Wakefield (South Paris, Maine) added an insurance tally to close out the win. Plymouth State improves to 3-6 overall and 3-4 in Little East action, while Salem State drops to 0-10 and 0-6 in league play.
The Panthers had a great scoring chance in the 13th minute. Wakefield sent a pass through the circle to Rafferty on the far post, but Salem State freshman goalkeeper Kaitlyn O'Shea (Ledgewood, N.J.) was able to make the stop. Wakefield had a pair of shots seconds apart in the 17th minute. O'Shea made a kick save on the first, with Wakefield taking a hack at the rebound, but O'Shea was up to the challenge again.
Rafferty broke through in the 28th minute. With traffic in front of the Vikings' cage, she was able to push a shot into the back of the goal.
The Vikings evened the game on a beautiful goal from Curtin just 6:38 into the second half. She flipped a shot from the left side high past Plymouth State sophomore goalkeeper Jess Distler (Brookfield, N.H.) to the far post. PSU answered just 36 seconds later. Wakefield fired a shot that O'Shea kicked aside, but Luscher was there to push the rebound into the open cage.
Wakefield added a rebound goal of her own to secure the win with 4:51 remaining. Junior Maddie Kabasakalian (Kent, Conn.) inserted a penalty corner to Newhard at the top of the circle. After a quick dribble move, Newhard teed up a blast. O'Shea made the initial save, but Wakefield flipped the rebound into the goal to lock up the win.
The PSU offense peppered O'Shea with a season-high 31 shots, forcing the rookie to make a career-best 17 saves. Distler made two saves for the Panthers. Plymouth State outshot the Vikings by an 18-2 margin in the first half, and 31-5 for the game.
(Courtesy Plymouth State Sports Information)