Panthers pull away to Little East Conference win
GORHAM, Maine – Plymouth State University outscored the University of Southern Maine 4-1 over the final 14 minutes to pull away for an 11-7 Little East Conference victory in men's lacrosse action Wednesday afternoon at chilly Hannaford Field.
The win lifts the Panthers record to 7-3 overall and 2-2 in LEC play. The Huskies fell for the fourth straight game and are now 2-10 overall and 0-4 in conference games.
Senior Chris Annunciata (Waltham, Mass.) led the Panther offense scoring three goals. Juniors Mike Trocchi (Danvers, Mass.) and Nick Morello (Billerica, Mass.) had two goals apiece. Junior Aaron Boss (Keene, N.H.) dished off two assists. Senior goalie Jesse Kutz (Hopkinton, Mass.) earned his fifth win of the campaign stopping nine shots.
USM sophomore Austin Watts (Westbrook, Maine) led all scorers netting four goals. Junior Burleigh Desjardins (Brunswick, Maine) tallied a pair of markers for the Huskies. Sophomore goalie Ryan Jurgelevich (Portland, Maine) had another outing with double-digit saves making 15 stops.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Huskies cut the Panther lead to one (7-6) just 40 seconds in when Watts scored his third marker. From that point, the Panthers offense took control.
Sophomore Phil Pichel (Hopkinton, Mass.) restored the Panthers' two-goal advantage a minute after the Watts goal. Annunciata scored an up-goal with 7:50 to play while the Panthers enjoyed a two-man advantage to make it 9-6.
Watts final goal at 6:13 cut the deficit to two, but the Panthers received goals from rookie Nick Pino (North Andover, Mass.) and Trocchi 1:24 apart to ensure the victory.
In the opening half, USM took its only lead of the game when Watts scored the first goal less than four minutes into the first quarter. Morello scored twice before the end of the period to give the visitors a 2-1 lead after a quarter.
The Panthers lead grew to 4-1 on goals from rookie Tyler Hawley (Jericho, Vt.) and Annunciata in the second quarter. The Huskies closed the gap to one, 4-3, before halftime as freshman Keegan Smith (West Gardiner, Maine/Gardiner Area) and Desjardins beat Kutz.
Trocchi and Desjardins traded goals in the third quarter to keep it a one-goal game. Annunciata quickly restored the Panthers' two-goal lead scoring 32 seconds after Desjardins. Junior Andy Ripley (South Paris, Maine/Oxford Hills) pushed the lead to three at 5:27, but Watts countered 44 seconds later to make it 7-5.
Plymouth State outshot USM 45-28 and won the battle for ground balls 38-19. PSU also had a decided edge in faceoffs winning 17 of 21. Freshman Brandon Lee (Canton, Mich.) won 9 of 10 faceoffs and scooped up a game-high nine ground balls. Senior Scott Giusti (West Newton, Mass.) won 8 of 10 draws and had four ground balls.
Southern Maine is on the road on Saturday (1:00 p.m.) traveling to Keene State University for a Little East game. Plymouth State will play at the University of Massachusetts Boston in LEC action on Saturday.
(Courtesy of Southern Maine Sports Information)
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