Delea scores four times, Kerkel makes 15 saves for Panthers
NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Freshman Connor Delea (Manchester, N.H.) scored four goals in his collegiate debut and junior Zel Kerkel (Loudon, N.H.) made 15 saves as the Plymouth State University men's lacrosse team held off Norwich University, 14-12, in non-conference action at Sabine Field on Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers picked up their first win of the season to improve to 1-1, while Norwich has lost two straight to fall to 1-2.
Junior Aidan Moulton (Danvers, Mass.) scored twice in the opening minutes to give the Cadets an early two-goal lead, but junior Sean Peet (Glen Cove, N.Y.) answered at the nine minute mark and Delea netted his first of the day to even the score at 2-2 just over a minute later. The home team pulled back in front, 4-2, before senior Lucas McCue (Brunswick, Maine) notched his first of the season to cut the PSU deficit to 4-3 with just under two minutes remaining. Norwich pushed the lead back to two goals with the second of the game from sophomore Kyle Maxim (Dracut, Mass.) in the final minute of the opening quarter.
Delea scored two quick goals to open the second quarter with sophomore Griffin Jacobson (Windham, Maine) assisting on both to even the score at five-apiece. The Cadets would pull ahead by a goal two times in the quarter, but junior Ryan Croatti (Brunswick, Maine) answered for the Panthers each time and the game went into the halftime intermission tied at 7-7.
Senior Drew Lederer (Jefferson, Mass.) and Croatti each found the back of the net in the first six minutes of the third quarter to give PSU a 9-7 lead, but Norwich answered with two straight to even the game again with 5:16 left in the frame. Delea tallied his fourth of the game two minutes later and junior Paul Luongo (Northborough, Mass.) scored with just under a minute left in the quarter to give the visitors an 11-9 advantage heading into the final 15 minutes.
Sophomore Thomas Kelly (Chantilly, Va.) took advantage of a man-up situation to give Plymouth State the largest lead of the game, 12-9, with a goal early in the fourth quarter. The two teams traded markers until senior Matt Shea (Arlington, Mass.) and sophomore Jack Anzalone (Ridgewood, N.J.) scored for the home team just 30 seconds apart to pull the Cadets to within 13-12 with four minutes to play, but junior Jake Burns (Salem, N.H.) gave the Panthers some breathing room and Kerkel was able to keep Norwich off the board the rest of the way to preserve the win.
Delea led all scorers with his four goals, while Croatti added three goals and an assist. Burns (one goal, one assist) and Jacobson (two assists) were the only other Panthers with multi-point games. Kerkel's 15 saves were a career high as he improved to 1-1 on the season.
The Cadets had four different players tally two goals. Junior Ian Kriger (Burlington, Mass.) made seven saves between the pipes for Norwich, but suffered the loss to fall to 0-1 on the year.
Norwich outshot the Panthers 44-37 for the game, including 17-5 in the fourth quarter, and scooped up 37 ground balls to PSU's 25.
Plymouth State is back in action on Tuesday (Mar. 13) with a non-conference contest under the lights at Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Opening faceoff is set for 7:00 p.m.
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