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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Plymouth State University eliminates men’s lacrosse in LEC semifinals

Dong Woo Im
Player Luke Murphy drives towards the goal at a home game. Photo by Dong Woo Im / Mass Media Staff.

There was a passing of the torch at Cotter Field, Thursday, May 2. UMass Boston Men’s Lacrosse lost in the Little East Conference semifinals against Plymouth State University. The loss to the Panthers marked the first time in half a decade that the Beacons were unable to play in the LEC Championship game. 

Going into their bout, the Beacons were playing some of their best lacrosse all year, having won four games straight. Most notably, their regular season finale against Keene State College granted them the second seed and a first round bye in the tournament. Everything was going right for them, but their six days off, coinciding with the Panthers’ momentum following a quarterfinals’ win April 2, caused them to drastically slow down. 

The Panthers pounced early, generating a 4–0 lead in the first seven minutes of the game. The stretch included three goals in the span of just 63 seconds, putting the Beacons on their heels moments after the opening face-off. 

Sean Daly tried to stop the bleeding with an unassisted goal eight minutes in. He drove to the net after beating a Plymouth State defender around the edge, and it looked like the Beacons finally found their footing. However, Plymouth State killed it quickly with three more goals in the period.

UMass Boston’s defense was a key factor in allowing the scores. Defenders allowed chances from close range, giving goaltender James Boldy the tall task of having to consistently make objectively difficult saves.

They also struggled in transition—one of their biggest strong suits as a group—as they were incapable of capitalizing on multiple Plymouth State turnovers. The Panthers, on the other hand, were polar opposites; they netted two goals off of UMass Boston’s miscues. 

The Panthers’ ability to spark quickly on offense was a sight to see as well. They scored three goals off faceoffs in the first, setting the tone early via their dominance at the dot. The Beacons just couldn’t keep up, and an unpredictable 7–1 score was the culprit after 15.

The second quarter fared no different. Greg Wolff scored the Beacons’ second goal, but the Panthers responded to Wolff’s net drive a minute later, making it 9–2. After allowing his ninth goal in 18 minutes, Boldy was relieved of his duties, and Otto Kirleis stepped in for UMass Boston. The Beacons’ beck and call changing of the guard was another one of their many attempts to turn the tide. 

In its early stages, the move was working. Wolff scored two more goals after the change in net, and the Beacons were showing signs of life nearing the half. Now 9–4, a two-for-one opportunity with 90 seconds left could have theoretically been the true turning point of the game. Had UMass Boston potted another goal early in their possession to make it 9–5, they would’ve had enough time to strike again for a 9–6 game before the buzzer.

However, a timely save by Plymouth State’s Owen McNichols—who was phenomenal all day—squandered their chances of scoring a fifth goal, and PSU’s offense went to work once again. 

Plymouth State scored another goal with 20 seconds left, and to make matters worse, executed the face-off perfectly, scoring an eleventh goal seven seconds later. A potential 9–6 deficit turned into an 11–4 score in the blink of an eye. Now the Beacons had to play their best half of lacrosse in order to save their season.

Boldy resumed his duties in the third, hoping to make up for his performance in the first half. The Panthers wouldn’t let up, scoring two goals in the first three minutes for a 13–4 game. Luke Murphy responded, but two more scores by the Panthers made it 15–5 with 21 minutes remaining. Trailing by double digits, the game was seemingly out of reach, and after three, it remained a nine goal game at 16–7. Four more UMass Boston goals were scored in the fourth, but the Beacons’ attempt to claw back wasn’t enough. The 16–11 final score—barring an unlikely nod for the NCAA Division III tournament—ended their season. 

Regardless of the outcome, men’s lacrosse’s campaign was nothing short of sensational. They faced an exceptionally well-rounded Panthers squad, one that featured arguably the best goaltender in the LEC in McNichols, and he was the story of the game.

According to the LEC’s website, he holds the best goals against average and save percentage in the LEC, and for good reason [1]. He put on a clinic, stopping 17 of 28 shots, per Beacons Athletics [2]. It would have been a historically monumental feat had the Beacons stormed back, but nonetheless, they have some work cut out for them in the offseason. 

Truth be told, it may sting now, but the Beacons will inevitably be back, battling for the LEC championship once again. 


  1. 2024 Men’s Lacrosse – Overall Statistics – Little East Conference
  2. PLYMOUTH 16 MASS.-BO 11 Final (beaconsathletics.com)


About the Contributors
Nick Collins, Sports Editor
Dong Woo Im, Photographer