Panthers' late comeback bid falls short
NORTON, Mass. – Plymouth State University scored twice in the final two minutes but Wheaton College held on for a 12-10 win in a non-conference men's lacrosse game under the lights at Nordin Field on Tuesday night.
Wheaton got on the board first with a goal from freshman Troy Sliney (Bradford, Mass.) in the opening minute of the game, but sophomore Chad Riddle (Windham, N.H.) countered just five seconds later to even the game at one. PSU went ahead two minutes later when senior Justin Roos (Coram, N.Y.) found the back of the net, but the Lyons scored with 10:18 to play in the quarter to tie things at two-apiece.
Sophomore Griffin Jacobson (Windham, Maine) put PSU back in front with the first of four straight goals for the Panthers. Junior Casey Elkins (Stow, Mass.) made it 4-2 with just under seven minutes remaining in the first quarter, and classmate Ryan Croatti (Brunswick, Maine) scored 90 seconds later. Junior Sam McCoy (Marriottsville, Md.) capped the spurt with his tally with 4:28 left in the frame. Wheaton got one back at the 3:09 mark to cut the deficit to 6-3 at the end of the first quarter. The six goals in the quarter were the most for the Panthers in a frame so far this year.
Wheaton came alive in the second as junior Matt Morgan (York, Maine) recorded three straight goals to make it a 6-6 game with 5:42 left in the half. Croatti gave PSU a 7-6 lead heading into the intermission after scoring his sixth of the year with 1:42 left in the quarter.
The Lyons continued their strong play into the third quarter. Three straight goals by the home team, including another from Morgan and the second of the contest for junior CJ Leighton (Falmouth, Maine) gave Wheaton a 9-7 advantage with 5:02 to play. Junior Sean Peet (Glen Cove, N.Y.) stopped the surge with a goal with just over a minute in the quarter to make it a one-goal game, but the Leighton tallied his third goal with just four seconds left on the clock to go into the final 15 minutes with a 10-8 lead.
Wheaton extended the advantage to 11-8 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter. The score remained the same for the next ten minutes until junior Alex Stomberg (Glastonbury, Conn.) scored with 4:06 to play to give the Lyons a 12-8 lead. PSU fought back and sophomore Thomas Kelly (Chantilly, Va.) scored with 1:18 to go, then junior Chris Waterbury (Clinton, Conn.) scored 13 seconds later to make it 12-10. PSU controlled the ensuing faceoff and called a timeout with 35 seconds remaining. Junior Paul Luongo (Northborough, Mass.) nearly pulled the Panthers to within one, but sophomore Chandler Miller (West Linn, Ore.) was able to make the save and the Lyons held on for the win.
Croatti finished with a pair of goals, while Waterbury had a goal and two assists for the Panthers. Roos added a goal and an assist. Junior Zel Kerkel (Loudon, N.H.), who made eight saves over the first 57:16, suffered the loss to fall to 1-3. Freshman Robert Porter (Groveland, Mass.) made two stops in the final 2:44. Sophomore Charlie Harrington (Walpole, Mass.) led PSU with five ground balls.
Morgan tallied four goals and an assist for the Lyons, with Leighton adding three goals and an assist. Chandler made eight saves to move to 4-1.
Wheaton owned a 40-31 advantage in shots, while PSU won 15 of 26 face offs and scooped up 20 ground balls to the Lyons' 18. With the setback the Panthers drop to 1-3 as Wheaton moves to 4-2.
Plymouth State will be off for 11 days before opening Little East Conference (LEC) play on March 31 at the Holderness School Turf Field. The Panthers will host Western Connecticut State University in their first home contest of the season at 12:00 p.m.
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