Panthers open LEC Tourney play at Western Conn.
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University men's lacrosse team dropped its regular season finale Saturday afternoon at Eastern Connecticut State University, 12-7, in a Little East Conference match-up.
Eastern Conn. wraps up the regular campaign with a 10-5 overall mark and in second place in the LEC with a 6-1 record. PSU drops its second straight and dips to 8-5 overall and 3-4 in the Little East.
The Warriors never trailed after the sixth minute of play but needed to score the final four goals of the match and keep the Panthers scoreless over the final 10-plus minutes to secure the win.
Eastern was assured of the LEC playoff's second seed and a first-round bye entering the match. The Panthers will be the fifth seed in the tourney and will visit fourth-seed Western Connecticut State University in a first-round playoff match on Tuesday.
Seniors Mike Devine (Cheshire, Conn.) and Mike Jordan (Cheshire, Conn.) and sophomore Tim Reilly (Hanover, Mass.) – ranked 1-2-3 this year in team scoring – combined for nine goals and five assists and freshman Quincy Pecora (North Haven, Conn.) won 12 of 17 faceoffs as the Warriors conclude the regular season with four straight wins.
Senior Chris Annunciata (Waltham, Mass.), junior Mike Trocchi (Danvers, Mass.) and freshman Nick Pino (North Andover, Mass.) each had two goals for Plymouth State. Senior Scott Giusti (West Newton, Mass.) won 10 of 21 face-offs and matched freshman Adam Haversat (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) with four ground balls. Senior goalie Jesse Kutz (Hopkinton, Mass.) made 15 saves.
Eastern moved out to a three-goal lead two minutes into the second half on Devine's team-leading 35th goal of the year, but Plymouth State countered with two goals less than a minute apart soon after to cut the Eastern lead to one, 8-7 with 10:33 left. An Eastern turnover gave the ball to Plymouth with a chance to tie with eight minutes left in the third quarter, but the visitors shot wide on successive game-tying tries. Eastern sophomore Tyler Vallie (Orange, Conn.) then forced a turnover, and set up Reilly's third goal of the match which sparked a decisive 4-0 run.
PSU missed a shot on its next possession, and sophomore Michael Dellano (Wakefield, Mass.) fed sophomore Cody Carbone (North Reading, Mass.) for his only goal of the match to push the Eastern advantage to 10-7 with four minutes left in the third quarter.
Plymouth State turned the ball over seven times after pulling to within a goal with 10:33 left, came up empty on all 15 of its shots and also committed two penalties which required the Panthers to play shorthanded. On those 15 shots, Eastern sophomore goalie Blake Smaldone (Hamilton, Mass.) made seven (of his ten) saves and sophomore Brendan Gillotti (Danbury, Conn.) made all three of his over the final two minutes.
(Courtesy of Eastern Connecticut State University)
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