Panthers fall to Owls for second time this season
KEENE, N.H. – Second-seeded Plymouth State University gave a valiant effort Sunday afternoon but came up short, falling to top-seeded Keene State College, 2-0, in the championship game of the Little East Conference Field Hockey Tournament at Owl Athletic Complex.
Keene State will return to the NCAA Championship Tournament for the first time since 2008. The Owls (19-4) earn the program's eighth overall Little East Tournament Championship and their sixth berth into the NCAA Tournament.
Plymouth State (17-3) will await an ECAC New England Tournament berth, which will be announced Monday.
The two Owl goal scorers were seniors Elizabeth Coffin and Aislynn Sherry, Coffin in the 24th minute of the first half and Sherry with an insurance goal 12 minutes into the second half.
PSU went on the offensive early, earning a pair of penalty corners in the seventh minute. Both times Sherry ran out and interrupted the Panthers play. KSC had its first solid scoring chance at the 25:03 mark, as junior Kalin Billert wiggled free in the net and Panther netminder Hilary Lemelin made a nice kick save to keep the contest scoreless.
The Owls hit the scoreboard with 11:30 on the clock, as Coffin and senior Kerry Howe worked the give-and-go off a penalty corner to beat the outstretched Lemelin for the 1-0 lead. Howe was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
PSU pushed the tempo offensively in the second half and continued to threaten the KSC defense. Junior Olivia Colborn hit the ball out of mid-air right next to the net, but the ball sailed just wide. Moments later, senior Lauren Bergeron had two chances and Erin Norris had another, but Davino-Draper knocked down all three attempts and a Panther foul ended the threat.
KSC added its second goal with 22:42 remaining, as senior Jacki Benson struck a nice crossing pass in the circle to a wide-open Sherry that put the Owls up 2-0.
The Panthers outshot the Owls 13-10 on the contest held a 8-6 advantage in penalty corners. Lemelin made seven saves for PSU, while Davino-Draper made nine saves in the shutout victory.
(Courtesy of Keene State Sports Information)
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