Rutherford scores as Panthers fall short of LEC Tournament
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Rhode Island College scored three straight goals, then held off a late rally to earn a 3-2 win over Plymouth State University in a Little East Conference (LEC) men's soccer game at Arold Field on Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers, needing a win in the regular season finale to earn a playoff berth, got a late goal from senior Nick Rutherford (Sydney, Australia) but time ran out on the comeback attempt. PSU finishes the season with a 6-10-0 overall mark and a 3-4-0 record in league play. RIC improved to 8-7-2 (5-2-0 LEC) and earned a share of the LEC regular season title.
The afternoon got off to a promising start for the Panthers, with freshman goalkeeper Linus Lindeberg (Stockholm, Sweden) coming up with four saves in the first 11 minutes. Junior Melker Blomberg (Stockholm, Sweden) got the hosts on the board first when he fired a rebound past freshman Charlie Tashjian (West Warwick, R.I.).
The lead didn't last long, however, as less than a minute later sophomore Preston Kar (Monrovia, Liberia) notched his first goal of the season when he scored on a rebound following a RIC corner kick.
The Anchormen pulled in front in the 28th minute when senior Komla Dogbey (Providence, R.I.) scored on a beautiful bicycle kick following a cross from classmate Elimane Seye (Providence, R.I.).
PSU had opportunities to even the score, but Tashjian was up to the test, turning aside multiple shots to keep RIC in front 2-1 into the halftime intermission.
Dogbey scored his second goal of the game, and seventh of the season, just four minutes into the second half to increase the visitors' lead to 3-1. RIC kept the pressure on throughout the second half, limiting the Panthers to just two shots in the final 45 minutes.
Rutherford made it a one-goal game late, scoring on a free kick just outside the box, but time ran out on the Panthers. The 5-11 forward ends his career as one of the most prolific scorers in program history. His ten assists this year are tied for the eighth most in a season, while he stands among the top ten in career goals (seventh with 30 goals), career assists (second with 28) and career points (sixth with 88).
Classmate Erik Ljunglof (Orebro, Sweden) ended the year second on the team in goals scored (four) and points (nine), while Lindeberg posted a 1.79 goals against average while registering 1058:23 in goal.
RIC, which earned the #2 seed by virtue of a head-to-head loss to #1 Western Connecticut, will host #3 UMass Boston in Thursday's semifinal round, while the Panthers season comes to an end.
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