PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Sophomore Matt Furman (Montville, Conn.) scored the game-winning goal on a header three minutes into the second overtime Saturday evening as Eastern Connecticut State University nipped Plymouth State University, 3-2, in the Little East Conference men's soccer regular season finale for both schools at Panther Field.
It was a see-saw battle as the visitors took a 1-0 lead in the first half, only to see PSU tally two goals a little over a minute apart early in the second half. The Warriors evened the match at 2-2 in the 74th minute and then won it in the second extra session. Freshman Cory Tobler (Portland, Conn.) recorded a goal and two assists for the winners, including the pass that set up the game-winner.
The outcome gives Eastern Conn. a share of the LEC regular season championship with Keene State College. The Warriors, 14-4-1 overall and 6-1 in conference play, will be the second seed in the tournament based on a head-to-head loss to Keene State (13-6, 6-1). PSU, 9-8 overall and 3-4 in the conference, ends up in fifth place in the LEC and on the outside looking in at the LEC Tourney.
Eastern senior Maxim Fantl (West Hartford, Conn.) and PSU senior Semir Mehmedovic (Zvornik, Bosnia/Franklin, N.H.) came into the game as the LEC's co-scoring leaders. Fantl notched his 16th of the season midway through the opening half, taking a well-placed through-ball from Tobler on the left side and knocking it into the right side of the net.
Sophomore Dre Cabral (Tokyo, Japan) put the Panthers on the board five minutes into the second half with his first of the season, heading in a corner kick from freshman Parker Spear (Sodus Point, N.Y.). Mehmedovic gave PSU the lead just a minute and 20 second later when he turned and fired from the top of the box, hitting the ball just inside the lower left corner.
A collision midway through the second half knocked PSU's starting keeper, freshman Bjorn Ohlsson (Halmstad, Sweden), out of the game.
Tobler evened the match again for Eastern at 73:48, taking a shot from the right side of the box and knocking it into the far left side. Tobler then collected the ball on the right baseline in the second overtime and lofted a ball that Furman headed in for the game-winner.
Eastern finished with a 17-15 advantage in shots. Sophomore Carl Appel (West Windsor,N.J.) made seven saves to earn the win in the Warrior goal.
Plymouth State must now wait until the ECAC New England Tournament bids are announced on Monday, Nov. 9.
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