-Score: Clark University 17, Plymouth State 11
-Records: Cark (4-5), Plymouth State (1-4)
-Location: Worcester, Mass. (Granger Field)
-The Lead: The Clark University men's lacrosse team took a six-point victory over the Panthers of Plymouth State University on Wednesday night. The Cougars outscored Plymouth State 10-5 after the first half before edging the visitors 7-6 in the second half to claim the 17-11 final.
HOW IT HAPPENED
-The Cougars outscored the Panthers 5-1 over the first 15 minutes of play. Senior Jack Pierce (Westborough, Mass.) fed the ball to his classmate Brandon King (Eastham, Mass.) who was off his left shoulder and buried it from 10 yards out for the 1-0 lead. Just two minutes later sophomore Mark DellaTorre (Bethany, Conn.) dished the ball to first year Benjamin Hollerbach (West Hartford, Conn.) as the duo made nearly the same exact play for the 2-0 lead. With just over five minutes on the clock the Cougars spread the Panther's defense to give Pierce room to come in on the right side and fire one over the right shoulder of goalkeeper, Zel Kerkel (Loudon, N.H.) for the 3-0 advantage. First year Steve Caione (Wingdale, N.Y.) notched his first two collegiate goals when he put one top left shelf with 4:20 on the clock before ripping one in from the left side just two minutes later for the 5-0 lead. The Panthers got on the board before the buzzer with an unassisted tally from senior Casey Elkins (Stow, Mass.) in a man-up situation (5-1).
-The Panthers came alive in the second stanza with four goals but the Cougars kept up the pace with five more tallies before the half. Pierce put in the first goal of the second period at the 8:19 mark to extend Clark's lead to 6-1 before Plymouth State sophomore Chase Mercier (Boscawen, N.H.) responded less than a minute later to close the gap to four (6-2). Junior Jack Mandracchia (Melrose, Mass.) helped himself to a goal at the 6:35 mark when he spun around the back of the net to the left corner and put the ball in the top right corner (7-2). With 4:17 on the clock junior Owen Lamerson (Greenlawn, N.Y.) wound up for a shot that deflected off Kerkel into the net to put the Cougars ahead 8-2. Senior Chris Waterbury (Clinton, Conn.) put up his first goal of the game with 4:17 on the clock and sophomore Connor Delea (Manchester, N.H.) followed up with a goal on an assist from senior Jake Burns (Salem, N.H.) with just under two minutes to play (8-4). With 1:19 on the clock Benjamin Hollerbach found junior Chris Rasco (Huntington, N.Y.) open in the middle, and he squared up and fired in his first goal of the game for the 9-4 advantage. Pierce put in his third goal of the game on an assist from Lamerson with under a minute to play before the Panthers got the last shot off of the half on a goal from Elkins. The Cougars took the 10-5 lead into the halftime break.
-Clark came out of the break with a quick goal from Rasco just over a minute into play before the Panthers responded with back-to-back goals from Delea to pull within four with 12:20 on the clock (11-7). Pierce carried the ball to bottom right before dishing it back up to junior Andrew Hollerbach (West Hartford, Conn.) at the top and he buried it in the net for the 12-7 lead. King and Delea traded goals before the buzzer as Clark held a 13-8 advantage heading into the final stanza.
-The Cougars outscored the Panthers 4-3 over the final 15 minutes. In a man-up situation, King tallied his third goal of the game on an assist from Andrew Hollerbach (14-8). Mandracchia held the ball behind the net and dished it to Rasco who was cutting across the middle to the left post and put it in the net for the seven-point lead at the 12:03 mark (15-8). Just two minutes later Rasco found the back of the net for the fourth time (16-8). Junior Chuck Harrington (Walpole, Mass.) ended the Cougar's rally with a goal for the Panthers, assisted by Elkins, at the 9:57 mark (16-9). Delea and Mercier posted back-to-back goals to bring Plymouth State within five with 3:02 on the clock, but one more goal from Rasco lifted the Cougars to the 17-11 final victory.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
-Rasco led the Cougars in scoring with five goals on the night. Pierce posted five points on three goals and two assists in the victory while King added three goals for the hosts. Andrew Hollerbach, Lamerson, and Mandracchia all added three points on a goal and two assists for Clark.
-First year Mark Zito (Lincoln, R.I.) went 21-for-30 in face-offs and finished with a team-leading 16 ground balls for the Cougars.
-Delea led the Panthers with five points from his five goals while Elkins added three points from two goals and an assist in the setback.
-Harrington led the Panthers with 10 ground balls and sophomore Erik Nome (Hebron, Conn.) went 8-for-20 in face-offs.
-Senior Thomas Berzok (East Brunswick, N.J.) (1-0) earned the win in net for Clark making eight saves in the first 30 minutes. Senior Nate Maselek (Marblehead, Mass.) came in for the second half and made eight saves to help the Cougars secure the six-point victory.
-Kerkel made 10 saves in goal for the Panthers and falls to 1-4 on the season.
-Clark finished with a total of 41 ground balls while the visitors collected 25.
-The Cougars finished 21-for-31 in face-offs.
-Clark is back at home on Saturday, March 30th for a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) matchup with the Bears of the Coast Guard Academy at 8:00 p.m. The game will also be the men's lacrosse program's fourth annual Renny Classic for Alzheimer's Awareness.
-Plymouth State travels to Western Connecticut on Saturday, March 30th for a 2:00 p.m. contest.