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Panthers to host WCSU in LEC Semifinal

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - With a conference championship and national tournament hopes on the line, the Plymouth State College men's soccer team begins its post-season run this Friday, hosting a Little East Conference semi-final match at Panther Field.

Seeded #1 after capturing the regular season title with a 6-1-0 mark, Plymouth State will entertain fourth-seeded Western Connecticut State University at 4 p.m. PSC earned a bye in Tuesday's opening round, setting up the match against the Colonials, who advanced with a 5-0 whitewash of fifth-seeded Rhode Island College Tuesday in Danbury, Conn.

With a victory Friday, Plymouth State (12-4-0) would have home-field advantage in Sunday's LEC Championship game. If Western Connecticut (12-6-1) wins, the Colonials will travel to the site of the winner of Friday's other semifinal game, third-seeded Keene State (15-5) or second-seeded UMass Dartmouth (14-4-1). The conference championship winner receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III National Tournament.

Friday's PSC-WCSU game will be a rematch of the regular season contest on Oct. 7th in Danbury. The Panthers pulled out a 2-1 victory after scoring the go-ahead goal with 9:14 remaining.

"We're very proud to have won the regular season title, and to have home-field advantage throughout the Little East Tournament," said first-year Panther head coach Keith Byrnes. "We said at the beginning of the season we wanted to go to the NCAA Tournament, and now we've put ourselves in a position to do so. We're looking forward to playing against a tough Western Connecticut team, and are hoping for a great tournament game."

Plymouth State features a strong defensive squad, one that allowed only 13 goals in 16 games. Anchoring the defense is junior sweeper Magnus Eriksson (Arjang, Sweden) and senior backs Simon Sendowski (Gothenberg, Sweden), Ceamus McDermott (Centerville, Mass.) and Scott Curran (Pawcatuck, Conn.). Sophomore keeper Brad Wilby (Haddonfield, NJ) and junior keeper Scott Laine (Spencer, Mass.) combined to record six shutouts.

The Panther offense scored 33 goals this season, led by junior Antoine Moiboueyi (Gabon, Africa) with eight markers. Other offensive threats include forward Sal Friello (West Haven, Conn.) and midfielders Jeremy Gasowski (Lee, NH) and Garry Thomson (Glasgow, Scotland).