By Seth Wilson
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Freshman forward Takeru Tanikawa (Shizuoka, Japan) broke a scoreless deadlock in the 74th minute Saturday afternoon to propel Plymouth State University over the University of Southern Maine in a pivotal Little East Conference men’s soccer contest at Panther Field.
The first half was somewhat of a stalemate with neither team being able to score. The best opportunity came from the hosts with 17 minutes left to play in the half. Senior Sebastian Rodriguez’s (San Jose, Costa Rica) corner kick found senior Nick Libera (Cromwell, Conn.) in the goal box, but his header was swept off the goal line by a Husky defender.
The Panthers came out firing in the second half, continuing to put pressure on Husky sophomore keeper Chris Willard (Hampton, Conn.). The hosts finally pushed one by the netminder with 16 minutes remaining as sophomore Felix Rosen (Stockholm, Sweden) crossed a beautiful ball to Tanikawa, who knocked home his first goal of the season.
PSU kept applying heavy amounts of pressure but couldn’t push another one in, outshooting the Huskies 8-2 in the second half and 12-4 for the game.
Senior Dan Custance (Holderness, N.H.) made just four saves in the Panther net to register his second shutout of the season while Willard registered two for the Huskies.
PSU, 7-5-1 3-2-0 in the LEC, has its final regular season home game Wednesday as they host Green Mountain College (6:00 p.m.). Southern Maine, 7-3-3, 1-2-1 in conference, looks to bounce back Thursday with a road game at the University of New England (3:00 p.m.)
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