The Keene State College field hockey team advances to the Little East Conference (LEC) Championship for the fourth consecutive year.
On Nov. 2, Keene State field hockey took on Plymouth State University in a semifinal matchup at the Owl Athletic Complex.
The first half was a back and forth penalty corner battle between the two teams. Keene State racked on a total of six penalty corners in that half, while Plymouth State recorded five.
Plymouth State capitalized on every opportunity in the first half with Lily Davis scoring off of a penalty corner early to take the lead.
It wasn’t long after that goal until the Owls were given a penalty corner and Kendal Brown was able to find the back of the net to even the score.
The Panthers didn’t give the Owls a chance to celebrate the tie, as they took the lead off another penalty corner to lead the game 2-1 going into the half.
Keene showed to be a much different team in the second half than they were in the first half. At the start of the second, the Owls’ offense put Plymouth’s defense to work, racking on five shots.
Shortly after the start of the second half, Sami Smith scored to record her 33rd goal of the year.
Right after Smith’s goal, Brittney Cardente scored to bring the Owls to lead Plymouth 3-2.
Even after a quick timeout taken by Plymouth, they were unable to stop the onslaught from the Owl’s offense. Just a few minutes after the conclusion of the time out, Kendal Brown tallied her second goal of the night to lead the Owls to a 4-2 victory over Plymouth State.
For some, this win means a return to the LEC Championship game. For first-year students, this is their first. One player, though her first time in a collegiate championship game, has been in this situation before.
“I’m a bit used to it,” said forward Jensyn-Marie Dandeneau. “I’ve won three state championships in high school, but it’s a little different, nerve racking I would definitely say. I was not playing my top game tonight, but my team came through.”
For one returning player, even with championship game experience, she said she is nervous for this game.
“Really scary, I will tell you that,” said goalie Gwendolyn Thayer. “I’m really nervous about everything, but I know we’ll be able to make it through…”
Head Coach Amy Watson admitted that Plymouth gave the Owls a run for their money in that game, but even though they brought their A game, it didn’t catch them off guard.
“We try not to overthink it too much,” said Watson when asked about mentally preparing for the championship game. “We spend a lot of time at practice going through reps, going through what we do over and over again, and I think we just have to remind them that this is just an opportunity to execute what we’ve been practicing all year long.”
Justin Mahan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org