PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Plymouth State University’s men’s soccer team upset the 12th-ranked team in Division III Wednesday evening, blanking Wheaton College 2-0 at Panther Field.
Plymouth State, ranked 10th in New England, improves its record to 5-1 on the season, with the only loss an overtime decision to Bowdoin College, which was ranked fifth in the nation. Wheaton, ranked second in New England and 12th in the country, drops to 6-2.
The key goal of the game came in the opening minutes of the second half when PSU junior defender Steve Libera (Cromwell, Conn.) converted his first goal of the season, beautifully heading home a corner kick by sophomore Brad Wyman (Manchester, N.H./Oyster River H.S.). Senior Michael Cantelli (Raymond, N.H.) added icing to the win with a penalty kick goal with nine seconds remaining in the contest.
The Panthers came out flying with three excellent scoring opportunities in the first eight minutes, but Wheaton keeper Matt Pachniuk (Newtown, Conn.) came up with big saves on Cantelli and freshman Felix Rosen (Stockholm, Sweden), and a header by sophomore Steve Balgach (Fairfield, Conn.) sailed over the net. The Lyons had a couple of scoring chances early in the second half but Panther keeper Brad Wilby (Haddonfield, NJ) made a point-blank save on Matt Ristuccia (Newton, Mass.), and Matt Mancini‘s (Westford, Mass.) shot glanced off the goalpost.
With PSU leading 1-0, a potential game-tying goal by the Lyons was waved off by an offsides call with 16 minutes remaining. That led to a red-card for Wheaton, and the visitors were forced to play a man down the rest of the way.
Wheaton had a 7-5 advantage in shots. Pachniuk finished with three saves for the Lyons, while Wilby made six saves for PSU to record his fourth shutout in the last five outings.
The Panthers return to Little East Conference action Saturday with a 1:00 p.m. contest at UMass Boston. Wheaton returns home to host MIT in a New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference contest at 1:00 p.m.
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