BOSTON, Mass. – A 9-0 second half eruption carried lacrosse to their biggest win in program history to-date as they defeated Plymouth State University by the final of 14-6 to earn their first-ever trip to the Little East Conference Tournament championship game Thursday evening at James Cotter Field.
#2 UMass Boston 14, #3 Plymouth State University 6
UMass Boston (9-7)
Plymouth State University (9-8)
HOW IT HAPPENED
After a back-and-forth first two quarters, the Beacons rebounded in a big way as they scored nine unanswered goals over the final 30 minutes of play to earn the program's first-ever LEC Tournament semi-final win.
With the victory the Beacons will travel to Keene, New Hampshire to face the top-seed Owls of Keene State College on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Trailing by one going into the break, the Beacons registered five goals in the third quarter to take a 10-6 lead heading into the fourth. In the final frame, UMB unloaded four more goals to cap-off a historic night on the harbor campus, as it was the first-ever home LEC Tournament semi-final game for the lacrosse team.
The Beacons victory could not have been accomplished without the standout play of Josh Holmes and Conor Smith (Kingston, Mass.). The duo combined for nine goals and one assist in the win. Six of their nine goals came in second half rush, with Jack Dillon (Barrington, R.I.) and Clay Arnold (Syracuse, N.Y.) also getting in on the action.
Dillon once again proved to be the Beacons go-to two-way player as he finished the victory with three goals, to go along with 10 ground balls and six caused turnovers. Alex Surette (Melrose, Mass.) was once again solid in his first tournament win as a Beacon, as he made nine saves in the victory.
Matt Murphy (Watertown, Mass.) finished 11-for-23 on the face-off "X" as he went toe-to-toe with Plymouth State's Kyle Stockman all night. Nicco Sorrentino led the Plymouth State attack with three goals, while Galen Antolino and Mac Tetreault each finished with two assists.
Jayson LaRiviere made 12 saves in the losing effort, as he closed out the 2017 campaign with an 8-6 record overall.
UMB started off Thursday's semi-final game on a great note as they rattled-off a pair of goals through the first seven plus minutes. However, a quick response by the Panthers found the teams tied at 2-2 heading into the first intermission.
In the second, the two teams exchanged goals, with Plymouth State scoring the final marker before the halftime break to take slim 6-5 lead.
Knowing that this game was still theirs to win, the Beacons returned the field in the third with a new fire. From the opening face-off, UMB completely took over all aspects of the contest. Smith evened the score at 6-6 at the 12:13 mark. Nine seconds later Dillon would put UMB in the lead for the final time as he netted an unassisted goal. From there Surette and his defense completely neutralized the Panthers attack, while Smith and Holmes picked apart PSU's defensive line.
BY THE NUMBERS
- UMass Boston has now won three straight over the Panthers, making it the third longest win-streak over the Panthers in program history
- The Beacons championship appearance on Saturday will be the first-ever in program history
- Thursday's contest marked the first time in program history that the Beacons earned a first-round bye and the first-time ever that they hosted the semi-final round of the tournament
- On the day UMB held a 29-24 advantage in ground balls, 42-32 advantage in shots
- Defensively the Beacons forced 20 Plymouth State turnovers
- UMB finished 15-for-16 on clear attempts, while the Panthers were 12-for-23
- Plymouth State did finish 2-for-3 on man-up attempts, while the Beacons went 0-for-5
The Beacons will travel to Keene State College on Saturday for a 1 p.m. championship game. The winner of that contest will receive the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.