KEENE, N.H. - Senior Jon Nassif scored a career-high eight goals to push the Keene State men's lacrosse program past Plymouth State on Thursday evening, as the Owls defeated the Panthers 14-10 in the Little East Conference (LEC) Semifinals at the Owl Athletic Complex.
- Keene State: 11-4
- Plymouth State: 8-10
How it Happened
Keene State raced out to a 2-0 start, as Nassif finished off a pass from sophomore Connor Nolan in the first 52 seconds of play, before senior Hunter Arnold struck at the 13:24 mark. Paul Luongo found the back of the net first for Plymouth State with 10:13 to go, before senior Paul Beling countered and fired off a shot to make it 3-1, Keene State. The Panthers continued to put on the pressure as Luongo scored his second of the first quarter off a feed from Drew Lederer to make it a one goal game, but the Owls rattled off three straight goals to close out the first period with a four goal advantage.
Plymouth State scored back-to-back goals to open the second quarter, as Lederer connected with Chris Waterbury, who tucked one past the Owls, before Casey Elkins capitalized on an Owls turnover and scored to cut the Panthers' deficit to two at the 10:51 mark. From there, Keene State delivered four unanswered goals, including a behind-the-back goal from Nassif off a feed Arnold, to make it 10-4, in favor the home team. With just 54 seconds remaining, Plymouth State knocked down a final goal in the first half, as Thomas Kelly connected with Cam Cormier to push the score to 10-5 going into halftime.
The Panthers controlled the majority of the third quarter and rallied from their deficit to score four unanswered goals, as Plymouth State held Keene State scoreless to make it 10-9 at the end of the third stanza.
The two teams battled in the beginning minutes of the fourth quarter, as neither team was able to find the back of the net until 8:04 remaining, when Kelly found an open Lederer, who took advantage of the man-up scenario to tie the game up at 10. Keene State responded less than two minutes later as the Owls' goaltender J.J. Tinney collected the ball, raced down the field and sent a pass to Nassif in front of the net, who converted to give Keene State a one-goal edge. From there, the Panthers were unable to score again, as the Owls tallied three consecutive goals to escape with the four-goal win.
Inside the Crease
- Nassif's eight goals place him third highest on the all-time single game scoring record list in KSC history. Bob Bonnes holds the school record with 10 goals against Clark on April 8th, 1999, followed by Tyler McKelvie with nine goals against Tufts on March 8th, 2014.
- In addition to Nassif's points for the Owls, Arnold tallied one goal, four assists, four ground balls and three caused turnovers, while Beling registered two goals and two assists. Freshman Matthew Lemke went 24-for-28 from the face-off "x" and added picked up 13 ground balls.
- For the Panthers, Waterbury, Luongo, and Croatti each tallied two goals, as Lederer and Elkins added one goal apiece. Charlie Harrington recorded four caused turnovers and six ground balls, followed by two caused turnovers and four ground balls from Sam McCoy.
- Between the pipes, senior Matthew Howe stopped four, while Tinney made two saves in relief and earned the win. Zel Kerkel was credited with 24 saves, including multiple at point blank range, in the loss for the Panthers.
- Keene State held a 67-26 advantage in shots over Plymouth State and picked up 51 ground balls to the Panthers' 36.
- With the win, Keene State advances to the LEC Championship game in search of the Owls' fifth straight LEC title. The top-seeded Owls will take on second-seeded Eastern Connecticut on Saturday, May 5th at 1:00 p.m.