PLYMOUTH, N.H. – In a battle for the Little East Conference men’s soccer regular season title, Plymouth State University shut out Rhode Island College 3-0 Saturday at Panther Field to clinch a share of the championship and the No. 1 seed in next week’s LEC Tournament.
Junior defender Nick Libera (Cromwell, Conn.) scored a goal and an assist to lead the Panthers, and senior keeper Brad Wilby (Haddonfield, N.J.) made three saves to post his ninth shutout of the season. The Panthers conclude the regular season at 12-2-2 overall and 5-1-1 in conference play, while RIC drops out of first place and wraps up the regular season at 12-7-0 overall and 5-2-0 in the LEC.
Keene State tied PSU for first place in the standings, but the Panthers get the top seed in the tournament based on a head-to-head win over the Owls. Plymouth State will host an LEC semifinal game on Wednesday at Panther Field (5:00 p.m.) against fourth-seeded Western Connecticut. Third-seeded Rhode Island will travel to second-seeded Keene State for its semifinal contest on Wednesday.
Libera gave the Panthers an early lead when he notched his first goal of the season just 12 minutes into the game, with an assist from senior Kyle Bowman (Bedford, N.H.). PSU carried play and outshot the Anchormen 4-0 in the opening half, but held just the one-goal advantage.
Libera set up PSU’s second goal with 14 minutes remaining in the second half when his header hit the crossbar and sophomore Koichi Nakatsubo (Numazo City, Japan/Franklin (NH) H.S.) headed home the rebound for his first of the year. The Panthers closed out the scoring on a superb play when freshman Felix Rosen (Stockholm, Sweden) fed a perfect through-ball to senior Michael Cantelli (Raymond, N.H.), and Cantelli finished off his fifth goal of the season with four minutes remaining.
PSU finished with a 10-3 advantage in shots. Junior keeper Jason Nelson (Pascoag, R.I.) made four saves for the visitors.
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