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Connolly’s hat trick leads PSU Men’s Soccer past Western Connecticut

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Junior Pat Connolly (Newton, N.H.) recorded a hat trick Saturday afternoon to lead Plymouth State University to a 4-0 victory over Western Connecticut State University in a Little East Conference men's soccer match at Panther Field.

            Connolly, who had not scored in his previous 26 career games, scored twice in the first half to help the Panthers to a 3-0 lead, and finished off the hat trick by converting a penalty kick with five minutes left in the game.  The Panthers get back to the .500 mark at 4-4-1 overall and 2-2-0 in LEC play, while Western Connecticut dips to 5-7-0 overall and 1-3-0 in the conference.

            PSU junior goalkeeper Tyler Shute (Deerfield, N.H.) needed to make just two saves to record his first shutout of the season.  The Panther defense, which limited the Colonials to 11 shots, was led by senior Takeru Tanikawa (Shizuoka, Japan), juniors Corey Cenate (Springfield, Vt.) and Gareth Stephens (Yeovil, England) and sophomore Drew McSpiritt (Londonderry, N.H.)

            Connolly put the Panthers on the board in the 24th minute, heading the ball in off a corner kick by senior Keith Whittemore (Holderness, N.H.) and added his second goal 11 minutes later with an assist from freshman Alex Ciccilinifoley (York, Maine).  Junior George Delano (Kingston, N.H.) made it a 3-0 game just before the half, and the Colonials never threatened in the second half.

            Plymouth State is back in action Wednesday with a non-conference contest at Bates College (4:00 p.m.) WestConn returns home to host UMass Boston in a LEC match-up next Saturday (4 p.m.)

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