Field Hockey drops see-saw battle to Keene State

Strong second half lifts Owls in key LEC game

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Freshman Hayley Dolan (West Brookfield, Mass.) scored a pair of key second-half goals Wednesday afternoon as Keene State College defeated Plymouth State University, 5-3, in a key Little East Conference field hockey game at Arold Field.

            The game was a see-saw battle as the lead changed hands three times.  PSU pulled ahead 3-2 midway through the second half but Dolan answered with the tying and go-ahead goals just 10 minutes apart to give the Owls the lead back.  Junior Katlyn Simula (Bridgewater, N.H.) added a penalty stroke goal for the Owls with six minutes remaining to seal the victory.

            Keene State, the defending LEC champion, improves to 5-4 overall and 3-1 in conference play while handing PSU its first Little East loss of the season as the Panthers dip to 5-3 overall and 3-1 in LEC games.

            Plymouth State jumped out on top less than three minutes into the game when junior Lauren Carroll (Rollinsford, N.H.) put in a rebound after KSC sophomore goalie Caitlin Davino-Draper (Hanover, Mass.) had made a stop on Panther sophomore Tayla Corrado (Saugus, Mass.)  Keene State got on the board five minutes later when senior Kalin Billert (Center Conway, N.H.) collected the ball along the left goal line and slid a shot past PSU junior goalie Hilary Lemelin (Milan, N.H.) for her team-leading 10th goal of the season, knotting the game at 1-1.

            The Owls pulled ahead with 12:28 remaining in the first half when senior Alex Billert (Center Conway, N.H.) tallied her first goal of the season on a scrum in front of the Panther goal.    PSU came back to tie the score at 2-2 with five minutes left in the half when senior Olivia Colborn (Lancaster, N.H.) put in a rebound for her team-leading eighth of the season.  PSU finished the half with a 7-4 advantage in shots and a 7-5 margin in penalty corners.

            Keene State came out very strong in the first 15 minutes of the second half, earning seven penalty corners and taking seven shots, but Lemelin kept the Owls off the scoreboard.  One of the few times PSU got the ball in the Keene State half of the field ended up in the back of the net when sophomore Nikki Garvey (Canaan, N.H./Mascoma) dribbled through the defense and shot the ball underneath the goalie to give PSU a 3-2 lead.  It was Garvey's second goal of the season.

            Dolan took over from there for the Owls.  She tied the score just a minute later, knocking in a rebound to tie the score at 3-3, and converting a crossing pass from the left side by Kalin Billert with just 7:28 remaining, sneaking a shot just inside the right goal post.  Dolan doubled her season goal total from two to four.

            The visitors finished with a 12-2 shot advantage in the second half and a 16-9 total for the game.  The Owls also ended up with a 13-8 margin in penalty corners. Davino-Draper finished with five saves for KSC while Lemelin totaled eight saves for PSU.

            Plymouth State is home again on Saturday, hosting Eastern Connecticut State University at 12 noon while Keene State visits Western Connecticut State University for a 5:00 p.m. start.

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