The Keene State College men’s lacrosse team showed its ability to persevere as the Owls soared back from a six-goal deficit to defeat Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 14-12 on Saturday, Feb. 27.

The Owls opened up sluggishly Saturday as the Engineers netted six unanswered goals in the first quarter. The Owls would not respond with their first goal until sophomore midfielder Frank Bacarella scored at the 2:35 mark in the first quarter. The majority of the game would go on to be a physical and defensive one, with both squads battling in the midfield, ending the game with equal ground balls earned (21).

Both goalkeepers, junior David Gibbs (RPI) and KSC sophomore Matthew Howe, would have crucial performances for their respective teams as Gibbs made 18 saves while Howe stopped 17 shots of his own.

The faceoff game would prove to be a critical part in the Owls making their comeback as senior Midfielder James Dowd would earn 19 faceoff wins for the Owls, scooping five ground balls in the process (game high).

Colton McKraken / Equinox Staff

Colton McKraken / Equinox Staff

Goals from sophomore attack Hunter Arnold, junior attack Bryan Rotatori (both with three) and senior attack Tyler McKelvie (2) would help the owls mount their comeback offensively. Rotatori also dished out a game high three assists for the Owls.

Before scoring his tiebreaking goal in the fourth quarter, junior midfielder, Tyler Reilly said, “I saw Rob pick it up and I knew I had to keep my feet moving and get my hand free for a shot. I knew it was coming my way and I was the only guy back there.”

Reilly added that Rotatori made a great check to force the loose ball that lead to the goal and Hart delivered a great pass.

After the contest, Reilly said, “No situation is too big for us, especially here at home. We’re a confident group of guys, we know we can score goals and we kind of depend on that. We knew that the whole game wasn’t going to to go that way, so we had to turn it around.”

On the Owls tough comeback, Head Coach Mark Theriault said instead of “pointing fingers and screaming,” they were able to chip away at the Engineers lead with a focused mind set.

“If we bring our ‘A-game’ and not make many mistakes, I think we’re in good position to beat those guys.”

The Owls will face off against Tufts at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 9, on their home field.

Nick can be contacted at

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