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Eastern Conn. nips PSU Men’s Lacrosse

Fourth-quarter rally lifts Warriors past Panthers

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Eastern Connecticut State University scored three unanswered goals to open the fourth quarter Saturday afternoon, turning a 7-6 deficit into a 9-7 lead, and the Warriors held on to defeat Plymouth State University, 9-8, in Little East Conference men's lacrosse action on Senior Day at Panther Field.

            Plymouth State cut the margin to one with 7:13 to play, but could not get the tying goal.  PSU managed four shots down the stretch, but Eastern freshman goalie Blake Smaldone (Hamilton, Mass.) made two of his 13 saves to preserve the victory.  ECSU improves to 4-7 overall and 2-1 in the Little East, while PSU slips to 6-2 overall and 2-1 in LEC play.

            Junior Brett Miller (Windham, N.H.) and sophomore C.J. Frates (Merrimack, N.H.) led the Panthers with two goals apiece, while junior Zach Frank (Wakefield, Mass.) contributed a goal and five assists.  Junior Chris Annunciata (Waltham, Mass.) and seniors Ty Long (Dover, N.H.)  and Shawn McEvoy (Spring, Texas) all found the back of the net once for PSU.

            Junior Scott Giusti (West Newton, Mass.) had another strong day on face-offs for PSU, winning 8-of-12, and senior Justin Vercruysse (York Heights, N.Y.) picked up a game-high eight ground balls.

            Junior Mike Jordan (Cheshire, Conn.) led all scorers with six goals and one assist for Eastern.  Classmate Tyler Fresen (Newington, Conn.) added a goal and an assist and junior Trevor Morrissette (Bedford, N.H.) and Mike Devine (Cheshire, Conn.) chipped in with a goal apiece.

            Each team tallied two goals in the first quarter, with Frank and Annunciata scoring for PSU and Jordan pumping in both Eastern goals. Miller gave PSU the lead a minute into the second quarter, but Eastern scored three unanswered goals, including two by Jordan, to take a 5-3 lead at the intermission.

            PSU outscored the visitors 4-1 in the third quarter.  Long and Frates pulled PSU even at 5-5, and after Jordan tallied his fifth goal of the game for Eastern, Frates and McEvoy countered for the home team and a 7-6 advantage after three.

            Jordan, Morrissette and Devine all scored for Eastern in the first three minutes of the final quarter, with Devine getting the eventual unassisted game-winner with 12:18 to play.

            PSU recognized its 10 seniors prior to the game. The Panthers will be on the road the rest of the regular season, beginning Wednesday with a Little East match-up at the University of Southern Maine.

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