NEWTON, Mass. – Junior Jon Gagnon (New Bedford, Mass.) scored four goals Wednesday afternoon, including the fourth-quarter game-winner, to lead sixth-seeded Plymouth State University to a 9-8 upset victory over third-seeded Lasell College in the first round of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Men’s Lacrosse Tournament.
The Panthers won for the sixth time in their last seven games, improving to 8-7 overall. The eight wins for PSU represents the most victories in a season since the 2000 team finished 10-6. The decision over Lasell is also Plymouth State’s first victory in four career ECAC post-season appearances.
PSU advances to Saturday’s semifinals at top-seeded Western New England College in Springfield, Mass., where the Panthers will face fellow Little East Conference school and second-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University in the second semifinal at 4:00 p.m. Eastern advanced past the first round Wednesday with an easy 23-2 victory over seventh-seeded Castleton State College.
The PSU-Lasell contest was close the entire way. The Panthers held a 3-2 lead after one quarter, and maintained a 5-3 advantage at halftime. Lasell pulled to within 6-5 at the end of three quarters, and took the lead with the first two goals of the final frame. PSU responded with three unanswered goals in a span of two minutes midway through the quarter to take a 9-7 advantage. The final goal, the eventual game-winner, was scored on a behind-the-head shot by Gagnon, with junior Bobby Dabrieo (Woburn, Mass.) assisting on the play.
Lasell scored with 1:29 to play to close the gap, and had possession in Panther territory in the closing seconds with a chance to tie the game, but the clock ran out on the Lasers.
In addition to Gagnon, PSU got two goals and an assist from freshman Adam Krinsky (Concord, N.H.), and a goal and three assists from Dabrieo. Senior Pat O’Malley (South Windsor, Conn.) and junior John Padua (Hamden, Conn.) also collected one goal apiece.
Sophomores Al Zayac (West Springfield, Mass.) and Dan Winter (Floral Park, N.Y.) and junior Louie Lucchetti (Newton, Mass.) led the Lasers with two goals apiece, while freshman David Bulhoes (Billerica, Mass.) and sophomore Dan Russo (New Hyde Park, N.Y.) chipped in with one goal each.
PSU sophomore Steve Valeri (Chelmsford, Mass.) earned the win in the Panther goal with a 15-save effort. Freshman Mark DeMieri (Seaford, N.Y.) finished with 19 saves for the Lasers.
Top-seeded WNEC, which received a first-round bye, will host fifth-seeded UMass Boston in Saturday’s first semifinal (1:00 p.m.), as UMB knocked off fourth-seeded Western Connecticut Wednesday, 12-11. The tournament championship game is slated for Sunday (May 15) at WNEC.
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