Luongo with career-high seven goals; Panthers to face Keene for title
KEENE, N.H. – Senior Paul Luongo (Northborough, Mass.) notched a career-high seven goals to lead second-seeded Plymouth State University to a convincing 21-14 win over sixth-seeded University of Massachusetts Boston in the semifinals of the Little East Conference (LEC) men's lacrosse tournament at the Owl Athletic Complex at Keene State College on Friday night.
Plymouth State advances to the LEC Championship game for the second time in program history. The Panthers will face top-seeded Keene State on Saturday (May 4) at 1:00 p.m. The Owls are seeking a sixth-straight title, while PSU is in search of its first.
Plymouth held a 2-1 lead five minutes into play, then used a 10-0 surge spanning the next 18 minutes to take a commanding 12-1 lead. The Panthers coasted through the second half and still led 19-8 early in the fourth before a late flurry by the Beacons made the final score appear closer than the game actually was.
Plymouth State improves to 8-7 on the year, while the Beacons end their season with a 5-14 mark.
The Final Score:
Plymouth State 21, UMass Boston 14
Plymouth State (8-7)
UMass Boston (5-14)
How it Happened:
* Plymouth State got on the board in the opening minute when Luongo buried a feed from junior Trevor Gagnon (Pelham, N.H.) just 37 seconds into the game.
* Sophomore Connor Delea (Manchester, N.H.) made it 2-0 four minutes later, but the Beacons answered 30 seconds later.
* PSU closed the opening quarter with five straight tallies to take a 7-1 lead. Senior Chris Waterbury (Clinton, Conn.) got the streak started on a pass from Delea. Gagnon scored twice in the run, with senior Casey Elkins (Stow, Mass.) and Luongo adding markers.
* The Panthers kicked off the second quarter with another five straight goals as the lead ballooned to 12-1. Luongo and Delea each scored twice in the surge, with Waterbury adding his second of the game.
* UMass Boston stopped the streak with a four-goal run of its own to cut into the margin, but Luongo added his fifth of the night with 11 seconds remaining in the half as PSU took a 13-5 lead into the break.
* The Beacons opened the second half with back-to-back goals to make it 13-7, but Delea, Luongo and senior Jake Burns (Salem, N.H.) each scored to push the lead to nine, 16-7.
* UMB broke the streak with a tally with 7:04 left in the third, but Luongo and Delea each added goals in the final 1:10 as PSU went into the final 15 minutes with an 18-8 lead.
* Waterbury scored five minutes in as the lead ballooned to 19-8. The Beacons tried to chip away, outscoring Plymouth State by a 6-2 margin, but the Panthers' lead was too much to overcome. Junior Chuck Harrington (Walpole, Mass.) and Delea had PSU's final two goals.
Inside the Numbers:
* Luongo has enjoyed facing the Beacons this season. He set a career-high with six goals in the regular season contest on Apr. 20, before topping that with his seven-goal, one-assist performance tonight.
* Delea also finished with an eight-point game after scoring six times and adding a pair of assists.
* Waterbury (three goals, three assists) and Gagnon (two goals, four assists) each notched six points, while Burns (one goal, two assists) and Elkins (one goal, one assist) both added multi-point games.
* Harrington led the Panthers with four ground balls and two caused turnovers, while senior Sean Peet (Glen Cove, N.Y.) also had a pair of caused turnovers.
* Sophomore Robert Porter (Groveland, Mass.) made 14 saves to improve to 7-3 on the year.
* Senior Cameron Dixson (Wayland, Mass.) took the loss for the Beacons (5-13) after making 11 stops.
* The Panthers held a 47-40 advantage in shots.
* PSU will face top-seeded Keene State in the championship game on Saturday (May 4) at 1:00 p.m. The Panthers are seeking their first title.
* UMass Boston has its season come to an end.
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