Delea, Waterbury lead high-powered Panthers' offense in LEC opener
HOLDERNESS, N.H. – Junior attacker Chris Waterbury (Clinton, Conn.) tied a career-high with four goals as Plymouth State University earned a 13-9 victory over Western Connecticut State University in the Little East Conference (LEC) opener at the Holderness Turf Field on Saturday.
The Panthers improve to 2-3 overall and 1-0 in the Little East, while the Colonials fall to 3-5 and 0-1 in conference play.
Western Connecticut got the scoring going early when sophomore midfielder Ryan Reuling (Groton, Conn.) spun past the Panther defense and fired a shot while falling to his knees just 1:09 into the game. Plymouth State would tie the game just over two minutes later when Waterbury cut towards the front of the net from the left side and received a blind pass from junior midfielder Paul Luongo (Northborough, Mass.), then fired a shot past freshman goalie Perry Cassidy (East Setauket, N.Y.).
Both teams would trade goals through the middle of the first quarter, before senior midfielder Cam Cormier (Auburn, Maine) tallied his first goal of the season in a man-down situation ten yards out from the left side with 3:52 left in the first quarter. Cormier added his second of the game with 1:44 left in the opening frame to give the Panthers a 4-3 lead.
Plymouth State continued the high-powered offense, adding two man-up goals in the middle of the second quarter from senior midfielder Drew Lederer (Jefferson, Mass.) and sophomore attack Thomas Kelly (Chantilly, Va.) to take a 6-3 lead but a late goal by junior attacker Robert Swensen (Danbury, Conn.) from just outside the circle with 57-seconds left in the second quarter made it 6-4 at the half.
Reuling would notch two goals in five minutes to start the third quarter and tie the game at six, but Plymouth State would take control and never look back 34-seconds later when Waterbury scored the first of four straight Panther goals, the final coming on a last second shot when freshman Connor Delea (Manchester, N.H.) swiveled past a defender and launched a shot to the bottom right corner with just one second remaining in the quarter.
Western Connecticut found some momentum to start the fourth quarter with a highlight reel goal from sophomore Eric Caldwell (East Moriches, N.Y.), who held off two defenders and got off a one-handed underarm shot that beat junior goalie Zel Kerkel (Loudon, N.H.) on the right side. The Panthers added three goals in the next 1:20 to secure the victory.
Both teams finished even with 34 shots apiece, but special teams were dominated by the Panthers who went 3-6 with the man up. Western Connecticut finished 1-4 with the man advantage.
Kerkel picked up the win for the Panthers to improve to 2-3 on the season. He finished with 14 saves. Cassidy suffered the loss in net for the Colonials, dropping to 3-5 while stopping eight shots.
Plymouth State kicks off a seven-game road streak when it travels to Lasell College on Monday (Apr. 2) for a 4:00 p.m. contest.
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