PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Senior Kevin Martin (Foxboro, MA) scored two goals Friday night, leading Plymouth State College's men's soccer team to a 4-0 victory over the University of Massachusetts Boston in the semi-finals of the First Annual Little East Conference Tournament.
The victory sets up a battle between LEC co-champions PSC and Keene State for the conference championship Sunday at noon in Keene. The top-seeded Owls knocked off fourth-seeded Eastern Connecticut Friday night in Keene, 3-0, while second-seeded PSC was beating third seeded UMB. The winner of Sunday's final will receive an automatic bid to the Division III NCAA Tournament.
"We know that it's going to be a great game Sunday," said PSC head coach Shawn Griffin, "and that's the way the conference should be decided - with the top two teams going at it. We're excited to play in it. We're excited to go back over there and play for the championship and play for the NCAA bid."
PSC led 1-0 at the half Friday on Martin's team-leading ninth goal of the season, converting a crossing pass from junior Simon Sendowski (Gothenberg, Sweden). Martin's second of the game, with an assist from freshman Steve Wallis (Raymond, NH), gave the Panthers a two-goal advantage just three minutes into the second half.
Plymouth State put the game away midway through the second half. Sophomore Magnus Eriksson (Arjang, Sweden) tallied his third goal of the season from Michael Soares (West Haven, Conn.) at the 69:52 mark, and junior Blair Weeden (North Woodstock, NH) rounded out the scoring by converting a Troy Silva (West Tisbury, Mass.) pass for his first career score at 74:56.
The game turned a bit ugly in the final 20 minutes, as UMB was flagged with several yellow cards and three red cards and had to finish the match with eight players. "You feel bad for UMass Boston, with the way they behaved," said Griffin. "We're just fortunate that no one got hurt."
Goalies Brad Wilby (Haddonfield, NJ) and Scott Laine (Spencer, Mass.) combined for eight saves to register PSC's eighth shutout of the season. UMB's Orlando Torres stopped six shots.
Sunday's match against Keene State is a rematch of the Oct. 2nd battle at Keene between the two schools. The Owls captured that one 2-1, earning the tie-breaker over PSC and the top seed in the tournament.
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