April 24, 2013

New England College Downs UMF in NAC First Round

FARMINGTON, Maine – The University of Maine at Farmington women's lacrosse team saw its 2013 season come to a close with a 13-9 defeat at the hands of New England College, in Wednesday's North Atlantic Conference Tournament First Round game at Prescott Field.

Fourth-season UMaine-Farmington ends its season with a 5-8 record, while fifth-season New England College improves to 5-13. The Pilgrims advance to Saturday's NAC tourney semifinals against Castleton State.

Emily Bamberger (Brimfield, Mass.) scored five goals and added an assist to pace the Pilgrims offensively, while Eleni Hatsis (Norwalk, Conn.) and Meredith Merce (Ocean, N.J.) added two goals each. Hatsis also notched two assists while Merce tallied one. Four other NEC players recorded single goals for the Pilgrims.

Ayla Allen (Rumford, Maine/Mountain Valley) paced UMaine-Farmington with three goals and one assist, whileMara Balboni (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee) charted three goals.

Farmington and NEC remained within one goal of each other throughout much of the first half, until a four-goal outburst by the Pilgrims send New England College into the intermission with a 9-4 lead. Hatsis scored two goals during NEC's scoring flurry, including a free position goal with 44 seconds remaining in the frame.

Molly Carbin (Scarborough, Maine/Scarborough) answered for the Beavers just 23 seconds into the second half, cutting the margin to 9-5, but any momentum in UMaine-Farmington's favor was quickly smothered by NEC goals from Bamberger and Kate Roberge (Essex, Vt.). Roberge's goal with 23:53 left to play in the game proved to be the game winner for the Pilgrims.

Farmington began to chisel away at the NEC lead, with four straight goals over a nearly eight-minute span, including two by Allen, to pull to within three of the Pilgrims, 11-8.

That score would hold for another six minutes, until freshman Lyndsey Grundy (Haverhill, Mass./Haverhill) cut the Pilgrims' lead to 11-9 with her goal at the 3:43 mark.

New England College briefly held UMF at bay, with neither team able to generate a shot over the next three minutes.

An excellent scoring chance by Allen with 50 seconds left on the clock was wide of the mark, and New England successfully cleared to set up Bamberger for her fifth goal of the day with 33 seconds left. Alexa Tardif (Hollis, N.H.) closed the book on the game with a final goal with one second showing on the clock.

New England College outshot UMaine-Farmington, 33-27, and had 33 groundballs to the Beavers' 22. The Pilgrims' ability to successfully transition into offense was probably the biggest contributor to their victory, as NEC was 14-of-16 on clears to Farmington's 10-of-17.