NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - Senior John Cogswell (Jefferson, Mass./Wachusett Reg.) scored with 3:12 remaining in the fourth quarter Tuesday afternoon to break a 7-7 tie and propel fifth-seeded Plymouth State University to an 8-7 victory over fourth-seeded University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in a Little East Conference men's lacrosse first round playoff match at Cressy Field.
The Panthers advance to the LEC semifinals, and will travel to top-seeded and regular season champion Eastern Connecticut State University Thursday for a 3:30 p.m. match-up. Third-seeded Western Connecticut State University defeated sixth-seeded UMass Boston 14-6 in Tuesday's other first-round game, and will visit second-seeded Keene State Thursday in the other semifinal. The championship game is slated for Saturday at the highest remaining seed.
Cogswell raced down the field and fired home a shot to foil a Corsair comeback that saw UMass Dartmouth come back from three goals down to tie the score at 7-7 with 8:19 remaining.
Freshman attackman Brian Flanagan (Walpole, Mass.) keyed the comeback, scoring twice in a period of 24 seconds early in the fourth quarter to bring UMD back to within a goal. He converted a pass from freshman Nick Campbell (Rutland, Vt.) at 13:58, then took a pass from sophomore Andrew Foster (Newbury, Mass.) and scored at 13:34. Junior Matt Swirbalus (Weymouth, Mass.) tied the score at 8:19 when he took Campbell's pass and fired a shot that hit PSU freshman goalkeeper Billy Morgan (Winchester, Mass.) and trickled into the cage.
The Panthers got off to a fast start, taking a 3-0 lead with the game barely five minutes old. Sophomore Brian Giroux (Wolfeboro Falls, N.H.) converted a pass from Cogswell at 13:43, and then set up senior Adam Krinsky (Concord, N.H.) for a man-up goal at 11:35. Giroux's man-down goal at 9:39 made it 3-0.
UMD came back. Sophomore Pat Kohout (Leeds, Mass.) fired the rebound of a shot by senior Matt Leary (Framingham, Mass.) into the net at 4:01, and junior Steve Colella (Wakefield, Mass.) scored at 1:59 to make it 3-2. Leary was injured later in the quarter and was lost for the rest of the game.
Swirbalus tied the score with a goal at 12:08. But sophomore Steve Engel (South Windsor, Conn.) scored for PSU at 10:43, and classmate Tim Hadley (New London, N.H.) added two goals near the end of the first half to give the Panthers a 6-3 lead at intermission.
Colella scored for the Corsairs midway through the third quarter, but Giroux answered with 58 seconds left in the period to make it 7-4 going to the fourth quarter and set the stage for UMass Dartmouth's late rally and Cogswell's game-winner.
Flanagan had two goals and an assist for UMD, while Swirbalus and Colella each had two goals. Giroux led the Panther attack with three goals and two assists, while Hadley had a pair of goals.
PSU out shot the Corsairs, 29-25. Senior goalkeeper Steve Chase (Boston, Mass.) made 11 saves for UMass Dartmouth, while Morgan made nine for Plymouth State.
UMass Dartmouth concludes its season with a 10-5 record.
In Thursday's semifinal, Plymouth State will be out to avenge a 14-10 setback to Eastern Connecticut in the regular season match-up back on Apr. 6. Eastern has defeated PSU 11 straight times in the regular season and owns a 4-1 post-season record against the Panthers. ECSU defeated Plymouth State in the Pilgrim League Tournament final in 1998, and in LEC Tournament games in 2001, 2004 and 2006. The Panthers' only post-season win over the Warriors was an overtime decision in the 2005 ECAC New England Tournament semifinal.
(Courtesy of UMass Dartmouth Sports Information)
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