PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Junior Sal Friello (West Haven, Conn.) scored a pair of first half goals five minutes apart Friday, and Plymouth State College went on to defeat Western Connecticut State University 5-0 in the semi-finals of the Little East Conference Men's Soccer Tournament at Panther Field.
The top-seeded Panthers, now 13-4 overall, advance to the LEC championship game at 12 noon Sunday at Panther Field. PSC will host second-seeded UMass Dartmouth (15-4-1), which gained a spot in the final with a 1-0 double overtime victory over third-seeded Keene State Friday in North Dartmouth, Mass. Western Connecticut drops to 12-7-1.
The championship game will be a rematch of an Oct. 21st battle between PSC and UMD. The Panthers outshot the Corsairs 32-6 but UMD came away with a 1-0 verdict, handing PSC its only conference loss this season. Sunday's winner will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.
Friello gave PSC a 2-0 lead in the first 17 minutes of the contest. Junior Jeremy Gasowski (Lee, NH) sent Friello in alone on Western keeper Mark Pataky (Trumbull, Conn.), and Friello beat Pataky between the legs at the 12-minute mark for a 1-0 Panther lead. Five minutes later, junior Antoine Moiboueyi (Gabon, Africa) send a long crossing pass into the box, and Friello headed it in for a two-goal Panther advantage, Friello's fourth of the season. PSC senior Simon Sendowski (Gothenburg, Sweden) made it a 3-0 Panther lead at the 36:27 mark, connecting on his seventh goal of the season on a penalty kick.
With the game under control, PSC sophomore Jake Morley (Hampshire, England) chipped in with his first two career goals late in the second half. He collected a pass from Ceamus McDermott (Centerville, Mass.) and beat Pataky at the 69:41 mark for this first, and rounded out the scoring at the 77:35 mark when he headed home a pass from junior Garry Thomson (Glasgow, Scotland).
PSC keeper Brad Wilby (Haddonfield, NJ) finished with four saves, three of them coming at point-blank range in the final 12 minutes of the second half. Pataky finished with four saves before giving way to Andrew Mazzei (Bristol, Conn.) for the final 15 minutes. Mazzei made two saves.