Defense leads Panthers to quarterfinal victory
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University defense limited the University of Southern Maine to a season-low three goals Tuesday afternoon as the third-seeded Panthers defeated the sixth-seeded Huskies 11-3 in a Little East Conference men's lacrosse tournament quarterfinal game at Currier Field.
The Panthers, 6-9 overall, advance to a semifinal contest Thursday at 7:00 p.m. at second-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University. The Huskies, which defeated PSU 11-6 in a regular-season contest last Wednesday in Gorham, Maine, complete their season with an 8-7 overall record.
Junior Adam Haversat (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) led the Panther defense with a career-high 13 ground balls and four caused turnovers, while seniors Ryan Garland (Franklin, Mass.) and Michael Whitney (Chaska, Minn.) caused three turnovers each. Junior Jayson LaRiviere (Chelmsford, Mass.) was impressive in goal with nine saves on 12 shots.
Senior Phil Pichel (Hopkinton, Mass.) and junior Colin Claflin (Pembroke, Mass.) led the way offensively for PSU with four points each, Pichel with two goals and two assists and Claflin with three goals and one assist. Junior Mac Tetreault (New Durham, N.H.) and freshman Paul Luongo (Northborough, Mass.) also scored twice each for the Panthers.
The Huskies got one goal each from juniors Keegan Smith (West Gardiner, Maine) and Sam Fortin (Brunswick, Maine) and sophomore Nate DelGiudice (Oakland, Maine). Sophomore Sam Hornblower (Portland, Maine) led the Husky defense with six ground balls and three caused turnovers.
PSU took a 4-0 lead in the first quarter and never let up. Tetreault and Claflin each had a goal and an assist to lead the early surge, and Pichel and senior Cody Carlson (Simsbury, Conn.) added one each. Each team scored once in the second quarter, as Fortin put the Huskies on the board two minutes into the frame and Luongo potted PSU's only goal of the quarter with five minutes to go, and the home team held a 5-1 lead at the break.
Defense dominated the third quarter as Pichel scored the only goal of the period for PSU, and Claflin scored to open the fourth quarter to push the Panther lead to 7-1.
The visitors came alive with consecutive goals in a 31-second span by DelGiudice and Smith, but PSU shut down the Husky attackmen the rest of the way. The Panthers tacked on four goals in the final six minutes, including man-up goals by Haversat and Tetreault.
Thursday's semifinal game for PSU at Eastern Connecticut is a rematch of the Apr. 23 regular-season meeting between the two schools, when PSU posted a 9-8 overtime victory to snap a 10-game losing streak to the Warriors.
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