Delea nets three goals in LEC title game setback
KEENE, N.H. – Sophomore Connor Delea (Manchester, N.H.) scored three times and seniors Chris Waterbury (Clinton, Conn.) and Casey Elkins (Stow, Mass.) each had four points, but second-seeded Plymouth State University fell to top-seeded Keene State College, 24-10, in the Little East Conference (LEC) Championship game at Owl Athletic Complex on Saturday afternoon.
The Owls offense opened on a tear, taking a 5-1 lead through the first quarter and extending to a 14-2 advantage at halftime. Keene scored the first four goals of the second half before PSU's offense started clicking. The Panthers outscored KSC the rest of the way, but the margin was too big to overcome.
PSU ends one of the most successful seasons in recent history with an 8-8 mark. The Panthers' six conference wins set a program record, while the second place regular season finish and tournament runner up matched program bests.
Keene State improves to 11-5, wins a sixth-straight LEC title and claims the conference's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
The Final Score:
Plymouth State 10, Keene State 24
Plymouth State (8-8)
Keene State (11-5)
How it Happened:
* Keene scored the game's first four goals over the first eight minutes of play.
* Delea got the Panthers on the board with 1:38 left in the opening quarter, but KSC answered 32 seconds later to hold a 5-1 advantage after one.
* The Owls ripped off seven straight tallies in the second quarter to open up a commanding 12-1 advantage.
* Senior Paul Luongo (Northborough, Mass.) stopped the streak with his goal with four minutes left in the half, but Keene answered with two more before the break.
* The hosts added four more early in the third as the deficit grew to 18-3, before PSU began chipping away.
* The Panthers scored twice in an eight second span with Waterbury tallying a man-up goal and Delea picking up his second.
* The hosts scored back-to-back goals, before Waterbury's second of the day with 4:34 left in the frame. The teams each added two more goals before the end of the quarter, with Luongo and Delea scoring for PSU.
* Keene tacked on a goal in the first minute of the fourth quarter. Elkins and seniors Jake Burns (Salem, N.H.) and Steve Tewksbury (Derry, N.H.) each scored for the Panthers, before the Owls accounted for the final score in the final 77 seconds.
Inside the Numbers:
* With his three goals, Delea finishes the year with 55 goals, 14 assists and 69 points. He had three or more goals in 12 of 16 games.
* Waterbury (two goals, two assists), Elkins (one goal, three assists), Luongo (two goals) and junior Trevor Gagnon (Pelham, N.H.), who had two assists, all had multiple points for PSU.
* Junior Chuck Harrington (Walpole, Mass.) led the Panthers with 10 ground balls and three caused turnovers.
* Sophomore Robert Porter (Groveland, Mass.) made 10 saves over the first 25:21, before giving way to senior Zel Kerkel (Laconia, N.H.), who made six stops over the next 26:52. Senior Patrick Griffin (Sandwich, Mass.) closed out the game, recording one save in the final 7:47.
* Luongo finished the year with 39 goals and 48 points, while Elkins tallied 26 goals, 17 assists and 43 points.
* Harrington led the Panthers with 107 ground balls and 37 caused turnovers.
* Porter finishes the year with a 7-4 mark after posting an 11.40 goals against average and 57.1% save percentage in over 530 minutes in goal.
* PSU's other appearance in the championship game came in 2008.
* The game marked the final game in the careers of Waterbury, Burns, Tewksbury, Griffin, Luongo, Kerkel, Elkins, Sean Peet (Glen Cove, N.Y.), JR Barnes (Hopkinton, Mass.), Harvest Perez (Walpole, Mass.), Sam McCoy (Dewey Beach, Del.), Kyle Day (Hampton, N.H.) and Matt DeLizio (Woodbridge, Conn.).
* Plymouth State's season comes to an end.
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