Panthers rally twice but fall short
MANSFIELD, Conn. – The Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer team scored two goals in the final nine minutes Saturday afternoon, breaking a 3-3 tie and capturing its seventh straight win with a 5-3 verdict over Plymouth State University in a Little East Conference match at Thomas Nevers Field.
The Warriors allowed a season-high three goals but never trailed in the contest. The first three Warriors goals came from senior Matt Furman (Montville, Conn.) but the winning score came from senior Cory Tobler (Portland, Conn.) in the 82nd minute after sophomore Joss Knol (Wellington, New Zealand) had tied the match for the second time for PSU in the 66th minute.
With the win, Eastern improves to 7-0 overall and 2-0 in the LEC, equaling its best start since an identical record to open the 1978 season. PSU dips to 2-7 overall and 0-2 in conference play.
Furman, who has all six of his season goals in the last there matches, scored twice in the first 5:26, the second one giving him 30 in his career and pushing the Warriors to a quick 2-0 lead. Junior Christopher Giustina (Enfield, Conn.) lobbed a pass over the defense to find Furman, who was able to settle the pass and beat the keeper in the third minute. Just three minutes later junior Tom Vear (Monson, Mass.) tapped a pass over the defense, once again to find Furman who beat the keeper in almost the identical spot.
Plymouth State, which has lost five of its matches by one goal, fought back with their first goal in the 14th minute when senior Parker Spear (Sodus Point, N.Y.) grabbed the ball off a turnover and flicked a shot from just outside of the box. The shot was just under the crossbar and just out of Eastern freshman keeper Jeremy Battye (Reading, Mass.), who was making his first career start.
PSU tied the match with only three seconds left in the first half off a corner kick by freshman Petro Masumbuko (Manchester, N.H.) The Panthers crowded the box as the corner was going to be the last chance in the half. Masumbuko received the corner from Knol and beat the keeper on the right side of the net for the goal.
In similar fashion to the first half, Furman struck early in the second, putting Eastern back in the lead just four minutes into action off of a corner kick by junior Mike Radlbeck (Westbrook, Conn.). The ball found the foot of Furman who blasted a shot into the upper left corner of the goal.
Once again, Eastern was unable to hold onto its lead as PSU scored in the 66th minute to tie it at 3-3. Knol scored on a shot that snuck just under senior keeper Jordan Munsell (Waterford, Conn.), who gained his seventh straight win after giving up two goals over the final 70 minutes.
Eastern was finally able to put Plymouth State behind for good when Tobler scored after receiving a great lead pass from junior Carl Stensland (Storrs, Conn.). The fifth Eastern goal was scored on a penalty kick by Bradley Fletcher (Middletown, Conn.) with3:29 left.
PSU has a week off before an attempt to get back on the winning track next Saturday at home against rival Keene State College. Eastern visits Salem State Tuesday in a non-conference match.
(Courtesy of Eastern Conn. Sports Information)
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