Men's Lacrosse Falls in Conference Opener to Plymouth State

BOSTON, Mass. – Led by Nick Morello's five goals the Panthers of Plymouth State University (5-1, 1-0 Little East) defeated men's lacrosse (1-5, 0-1 Little East) in the 2012 Little East Conference opener for both teams Saturday afternoon at the Clark Athletic Center Field.

Morello would fuel the Panthers win freshman attacker scored three of the Panther's first half goals, before adding two more in the final two quarters.  Also having a solid afternoon for Plymouth State was Ty Long who ended the afternoon with a hat trick.

For the Beacons they saw goals from Nate Staples (Salem, Mass.), the first of his college career, Domenic Fichera (Scituate, Mass.), and Ryan McGoff (Winchester, Mass.).  Fichera's goal was the seventh of the season for the sophomore, while McGoff netted his second goal of the campaign with 1:17 left in the opening frame.

Between the pipes senior Anthony Fitti (Havertown, Pa.) totaled a season-high 14 saves, while his conference rival Jack Tyo totaled seven saves to improve to 5-0 on the year.

As a team the Panthers dominated the face-off circle with Scott Giusti winning 12 of the 15 face-offs.  The sophomore midfielder also tallied a game-high eight ground balls as well.  Andrew Guy (Northbridge, Mass.) led the Beacons with seven groundballs, while Leo Ajemian (Walpole, Mass.) finished the contest with six ground balls as well as being 2-for-2 on the face-off.  Plymouth State also held a 42-29 advantage in groundballs with 17 of those coming in the fourth quarter alone.

The two teams were almost even on clear attempts as UMass went 16-for-25 and the Plymouth State 18-for-29. 

Neither team scored on their man-up advantages as the two squads went 0-for-7 respectively.  In the shots column Plymouth State finished with just four more shots than the host Beacons (28-24).

Plymouth State wasted little time getting on the scoreboard in the first quarter as Long drove home his 12th goal of the season at the 13:13 mark on an unassisted play.  Morello would add to that lead with just over six minutes remaining the first.  McGoff cut the Panthers lead down to one on his only goal of the day, which was assisted by Ajemian.

Following the first, the Panthers would combine for four more goals over the next 30 minutes of play.  UMass would try time-and-time again to find the back of the cage but were unable to during the second and third quarters.  Their scoreless drought did come to an end in the fourth when Fichera netted his seventh score of the year with 12:18 left in the contest.  Back-to-back goals by Plymouth State would make with a six-goal game with 7:27 left in regulation. The final tally of the afternoon belonged to Staples, who was also making his first career start with UMass as well.

Lacrosse returns to action on Tuesday when they host MIT at 3:30 p.m.  Plymouth State will travel to Clark University on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. non-conference game under the lights.