Career days for Waterbury, Kelly lead Panthers to home playoff game
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Junior Chris Waterbury (Clinton, Conn.) and sophomore Thomas Kelly (Chantilly, Va.) combined for nine goals and three assists to lead Plymouth State University to a 15-12 win over the University of Massachusetts Boston in a Little East Conference (LEC) men's lacrosse game at Currier Field on Friday afternoon.
With the win the Panthers secure the fourth seed for next week's LEC Tournament and will host the fifth-seeded Beacons in a quarterfinal game on Tuesday (May 1). PSU (7-9, 4-3 LEC) outscored UMass Boston 5-1 in the third quarter, turning a 7-6 deficit into an 11-8 lead. UMass Boston (8-8, 3-4 LEC) would pull to within one on two separate occasions in the fourth quarter, but the Panthers were able to hold on for the win.
The Beacons jumped out to a quick start, using a string of three goals to take a 4-1 lead in the opening ten minutes. Sophomore Ned Parker (Stafford, Va.) had two of his five goals in the stretch, with senior Clay Arnold (Syracuse, N.Y.) and freshman Dalton Ring (Holliston, Mass.) also finding the back of the net for the visitors. Sophomore Charlie Harrington (Walpole, Mass.) had the first Panthers' goal after picking up a ground ball in the defensive zone and sprinting downfield before firing a low shot.
Waterbury scored twice in the final two minutes, with junior Ryan Croatti (Brunswick, Maine) assisting on both goals, to pull the Panthers to within 4-3 at the end of the first.
|Plymouth State seniors with their families at midfield|
Junior Paul Luongo (Northborough, Mass.) and Croatti scored just 24 seconds apart to put PSU in front, 5-4, two-and-a-half minutes into the second period, but freshman Joe Mauceri (Scituate, Mass.) answered for the Beacons a minute later. Parker took advantage of a two-minute locked in penalty to the Panthers with a pair of goals to give UMB a 7-5 lead with less than a minute before halftime, but Waterbury cut the deficit to 7-6 with his third goal of the game with just eight seconds left.
The Panthers took control in the third quarter. Kelly, Croatti and Waterbury all scored in the first four minutes as PSU went ahead for good. Freshman Conor Lenfest (Waltham, Mass.) pulled UMB to within 9-8, but senior Justin Roos (Coram, N.Y.) and Waterbury added unassisted goals to give the home team an 11-8 advantage heading into the final 15 minutes.
Parker got his fifth of the game in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, but Kelly answered for PSU. The Beacons used goals from Arnold and Mauceri to pull within 12-11 with 5:43 to play, but Kelly notched his third of the game to give PSU some breathing room. Mauceri added another score, his third of the day, to again cut the deficit to a single goal, 13-12, with just 1:50 remaining, but Harrington answered nine seconds later and Kelly closed out the win with his fourth goal with just under a minute to play.
Waterbury and Kelly both set career-highs in goals and points. Waterbury finished with five tallies and six points to give him 20 goals on the year, while Kelly added four goals and six points. Croatti added two goals and two assists, and Harrington chipped in with a pair of scores. Senior Kyle Stockman (Ballston Lake, N.Y.) led all players with nine ground balls, with Harrington picking up seven. Harrington also added three caused turnovers, while junior Sean Peet (Glen Cove, N.Y.) led the team with four.
Parker's five goals and Mauceri's hat trick gave both players 30 goals for the year for UMB. Arnold added to goals and four assists. Senior Jack Dillon (Barrington, R.I.) led the UMD defense with five ground balls and five caused turnovers.
Senior Zel Kerkel (Loudon, N.H.) made nine saves to earn the win for the Panthers, improving to 7-9 on the year, while his counterpart, freshman Alex Fawcett (Londonderry, N.H.), made 13 stops but fell to 5-5.
Stockman won 19-of-30 face-offs and the Panthers held the advantage in shots (46-41) and ground balls (46-33). The Beacons finished 4-of-5 in man-up situations, while the Panthers were scoreless in six opportunities.
Back row (L-R): Cooney, Lederer, Hafkemeyer, McCue, Stockman
Front row (L-R): Gennell, Roos (upside down), Cormier
The same two teams will meet again in just four days for the first round of the LEC Tournament. The winner will advance to the semifinal round against top-seeded Keene State College on Thursday (May 3).
Prior to the start of the game, Plymouth State recognized the eight Panthers' seniors playing in their final regular season home game with a brief on-field ceremony; Cam Cormier (Auburn, Maine), Evan Gennell (Londonderry, N.H.), Joe Hafkemeyer (Brookfield, Conn.), Mike Cooney (Stratford, Conn.), Drew Lederer (Jefferson, Mass.), Stockman, Lucas McCue (Brunswick, Maine) and Roos.
– 30 –