The Keene State College Field Hockey team has now won more titles in a row than Lebron James did during his stay in South Beach.
The Owls defeated Eastern Connecticut State University 2-1 at Owl Athletic Complex on Saturday afternoon to claim their third straight Little East Conference Championship.
Keene State appearing in its fifth straight LEC Championship game battled with Eastern Connecticut back and forth for the first half. At halftime the score was 0-0 and Keene State had the edge in shots slightly four to three.
In the second half the Owls were able to break through as Junior Sami Smith scored her LEC leading twenty-fourth goal of the season at the 37:17 mark. Kayla Renaud and Marita Brothers both juniors picked up the assists on the goal. The Owls were not done scoring as Renaud found the back of the cage on a penalty corner at the 50:35 mark and Junior Brittney Cardente picked up the assist. The Owls were able to score both goals on the afternoon off penalty corners.
The Owls were truly tested toward the end of the second half as Keene State was issued three yellow cards in a matter of less than two minutes. Kendal Brown was issued a yellow card for five minutes, Brothers was issued a card for ten minutes and Smith was issued a card for five minutes. The Owls were down three players for about seven minutes.The Owls, down three players, were able to hold off furious Eastern Connecticut’s attack.
Head Coach Amy Watson said she was extremely pleased with the team’s effort in that situation. “I’m really proud of the way my team handled that exactly. There is a lot of emotion going on in a game like this and you start getting players carded, the game is physical. It’s really easy to let your emotions get out of control. I’ve got to give a lot of credit to the girls who were on the field when we were playing three men down because they were amazing. They held it together and worked together as a team,” Watson said.
The Warriors received a penalty corner as time expired and Paige Schneider was able to score after time expired to break up the shutout. Keene State was outshot 11 to ten and eight to six in second half. Senior Goalkeeper Meaghan Dwyer started in goal for Keene State and made five saves. Dwyer also won Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament. The Owls defense also had three team saves with Senior Emily Medeiros making two of them.
With the win, Keene State adds another piece of hardware to its trophy collection. The Owls continue to pad their record of the most championships in the LEC Field Hockey with 11. Keene State has an all-time record of 11-4 in LEC Championship Games. Keene State will receive an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. The Owls are 3-10 all-time in the big dance.
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