NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - Plymouth State College overcame a sluggish first half Saturday, outscoring UMass Dartmouth 9-2 over the final 30 minutes to register a 13-8 Pilgrim League men's lacrosse victory over the Corsairs in the final regular season game of the spring.
The win clinches the second and final play-off spot for PSC in the Northwest Division of the Pilgrim League. The Panthers conclude the regular season at 7-7 overall and 4-1 in the division, while UMD, which could've earned the play-off spot over PSC with a win, finishes its season at 8-3 overall and 3-2 in the division.
PSC will make its second straight appearance in the Pilgrim League play-offs, although its first round opponent remains unknown. The Panthers will open up post-season action on Wednesday (May 5) at the site of the Southeast Division champion --- either Babson, MIT, or Western New England, which finished in a three-way tie for first in the Southeast.
Sophomore Jim Martocchio (Simsbury, CT) scored a season-high seven goals Saturday to lead the PSC offense. Martocchio now has 55 goals this season, breaking his own school single-season mark of 53, which he set last season. Senior Nate Ostis (Yarmouth, ME) added three goals, sophomore J.P. Sallese (Beverly, MA) contributed two goals and three assists, and senior Josh Perry (Falmouth, MA) a goal and three assists.
The Panther defense was led by junior Sean Murphy (Eliot, ME), who had the job of marking the Pilgrim League's leading scorer Mike Monturio of UMD, who averages seven points a game. Murphy helped limit Monturio to no goals and one assist, and sophomore goalie Nate Pearson (Bow, NH) made 21 saves in the winning effort for PSC.
Plymouth State struggled in the opening half, going into the intermission down 6-4. The Corsairs scored the first goal of the third quarter, but the Panthers regrouped and outscored UMD 9-1 the rest of the way.
"I told our guys at halftime to just relax," said PSC head coach Bob Ewell. "We couldn't seem to do anything right in the first half, but we were still in the game, so I knew if we could relax and play our game, we would be all right."
The Panthers rattled off three goals in a 32-second span to tie the game at 7-7 midway through the third period, then added four more unanswered markers before UMD got back on the board midway through the final stanza. But by then, PSC owned a four-goal lead.
PSC's play-off opponent should be finalized by Monday (May 3). The Panthers won their opening round play-off game last year at Wheaton, 14-13, but dropped the championship game at Eastern Conn., 22-10.
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