April 2, 2014

Overtime Strike Cuts Cougars' Rally Short, 12-11

Worcester, Mass. – Zach Frank (Wakefield, Mass.) buried his fifth goal of the game 2:14 into overtime and visiting Plymouth State held off a furious Clark University comeback bid to escape with a 12-11 win over the Cougars in non-league men's lacrosse action on Wednesday evening.

The loss for Clark is their second straight one goal defeat following Saturday's 11-10 decision to league rival MIT and drops their record to 4-4.

Meanwhile, the Panthers have won four straight after a season opening loss and extend their winning streak over the Scarlet and White to three straight dating back to the 2012 season.

PSU wasted little time getting on the board as Chris Annunciata (Waltham, Mass.) scored just 21 seconds into the contest.

Clark finally answered back when Rob Holden (East Longmeadow, Mass.) notched an unassisted score with 2:29 left in the period. The Panthers moved ahead as time wound down in the first when Frank registered his first of the game.

Phil Pichel (Hopkinton, Mass.) then took a feed from Mike Trocchi (Danvers, Mass.) and made the score 3-1 early in the second.

The Cougars knotted the game up with consecutive goals less than two minutes apart as Darius Jagminas (East Greenwich, R.I.) and John Goracy (Lumberton, N.J.) each tallied markers.

Plymouth State scored the next two goals as Trocchi played playmaker on a Nick Pino (North Andover, Mass.) score and then Frank netted another.

Clark kept it close, scoring the next two goals on a Goracy strike from Holden and a Holden tally from Nick Johnson (Amherst, Mass.).

Andy Ripley (South Paris, Maine) put the Panthers ahead going into halftime when he found the back of the net with help from Cody Claflin (Pembroke, Mass.). 

Claflin gave the visitors a two goal advantage when Ryan Garland (Medford, Mass.) found him open just 44 seconds into the third quarter, igniting a stretch that saw the Panthers score five of the next seven goals, save for a pair of Jagminas scores midway through the third and early in the fourth.

When the dust cleared following another Frank score, Plymouth State was ahead 11-7 with 9:28 left.

That's when Clark made its run, scoring four straight goals over a six minute span beginning with a Peter Christiansen (Seattle, Wash.) score with help from Johnson. That was followed by Goracy and Christiansen trading unassisted goals and then Christiansen setting up Jagminas to even the score at 11-11 with a little more than three minutes to play.

The Cougars actually got the first possession in the extra session, but a turnover led to transition offense for the Panthers and that's what led to Andrew Finnocchio (Wakefield, Mass.) setting up Frank for the gamewinner.

In a game that featured just three penalties, it was surprisingly turnover-filled with the teams combining to commit 42 miscues.

Ryan Marsh (Oyster Bay, N.Y.) was strong at the faceoff "X" for the Cougars, going 17-for-27.

Jesse Kutz (Hopkinton, Mass.) made 12 saves for Plymouth State, while Kevin Ranta (Beverly, Mass.) turned aside seven for the hosts.

In addition to Frank's huge night, Trocchi totaled two goals and three assists and both Annunciata and Claflin ended with a goal and an assist.

Clark was paced by Jagminas, who netted a career-high four goals, while Goracy notched his second straight three goal outing. Holden and Christiansen, meanwhile, each had two goals and two assists.

Zach Duffy (Wakefield, Mass.) continued his excellent play on the Cougar backline, scooping up a game-best ten groundballs to go along with two caused turnovers.

Plymouth State returns to action on Sunday with a home contest against UMass-Dartmouth, while the Cougars will look to snap its brief two-game slide on Monday night against Worcester-area rival, Anna Maria.