Plymouth lacrosse girls reach state final



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Plymouth’s Kenady Kelly takes off with the ball after emerging from a brief struggle for control during last week’s quarterfinal win over Windham. The Bobcats played in their first-ever state championship this week, taking on Kingswood. Matt Perloff. (click for larger version)
June 06, 2011
(Note: The Division III State Championship between Plymouth and Kingswood was scheduled for Wednesday evening and results were not available at press time. Visit nhiaa.org for final tournament results and check back next week for more info.)

MANCHESTER — Plymouth Regional High School will be adding a new banner and trophy to its athletic accolades following action this week, as the girls' lacrosse team advanced to its first-ever state championship following victories over Windham and Hopkinton in the first two rounds of the Division III state tournament.

The top-seeded Bobcats (14-2) continued their stellar 2011 campaign with a 24-17 win over Windham in last Tuesday's quarterfinal, then avenged a regular season loss to Hopkinton with a 13-6 victory over the Hawks in the semifinals on Sunday. The wins earned Plymouth, only in its fourth year as a varsity sport, a trip to the championship game against third-ranked Kingswood, scheduled for Wednesday evening at Southern New Hampshire University.

The quarterfinal was a shootout for both the Bobcats and eighth-seeded Windham, with both teams making their case to advance. The Jaguars scored the first goal of the game less than a minute in, but Plymouth answered with six straight of their own in the next four minutes. They led 8-2 before Windham came charging back to make it 9-8 heading into the final five minutes of the half, then tied it at 11 with just over a minute to play before Plymouth added one more goal ahead of halftime, taking a 12-11 lead at the break. The two teams traded goals over the first two minutes to knot things back up at 13, but that's when the Bobcats' offense went hot again, exploding for seven straight goals en route to a 9-1 rally, going up 22-14. Windham fought back down the stretch, but the damage was done as Plymouth hung on for a 24-17 win.

Six Plymouth players knotted a hat trick in the game. Leah McAuliffe led the way with five goals, while Rachel Schwaner added four and Ani Swanson, Nika Mosenthal (two assists), Ann Furbush (two assists) and Kenady Kelly (two assists) each netted three. Hannah Kuehl also added a goal while Brittany Silva handed out an assist.

That set up Sunday's showdown with fourth-seeded Hopkinton, who handed Plymouth one of its two losses early in the season. The Bobcats controlled things this time around though, coming out strong with a 7-2 lead at halftime and expanding that lead in the second half as they rolled to a 13-6 victory.

Swanson (one assist), Kelly and Furbush all scored three goals in the win, while Schwaner notched two goals and an assist, McAuliffe added a goal and an assist and Mosenthal also scored a goal. Liz Gailey kept Hopkinton out of the net with six saves, while Hannah Otto led the defense in front of the goal to further stifle the Hawks' offensive effort.

Plymouth looked to finish off their historic season Wednesday night in the state championship, where they were slated to face third-seeded Kingswood, who knocked off Kearsarge in the semifinal. The Bobcats edged the Knights in the regular season finale, setting the tone for a thrilling finale to what has been an exciting season for Division III lacrosse.

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