Second-half goal by Habelow lifts Owls over Panthers
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Senior Melissa Habelow (Belmont, Mass.) scored the only goal of the game with 16 minutes to play in the second half Tuesday afternoon to lift Keene State College to a 1-0 victory over Plymouth State University in a key Little East Conference field hockey encounter at Arold Field.
In what was a battle of the only two remaining unbeaten teams in the Little East this season, Keene State takes over sole possession of first place at 4-0 in the LEC, 6-4 overall. PSU, which had a four-game winning streak stopped, falls to 3-1 in conference play, 5-2 overall.
Habelow was set up in the slot on the key play, right in front of the Panther keeper. The PSU defense knocked the ball away from Habelow, but she retrieved the ball, spun and fired a low liner into the back of the net for what turned out to be the game-winner.
KSC junior goalie Shauna Whittemore (Bennington, Mass.) made nine saves to post her first shutout of the season. She preserved the whitewash with 11:30 remaining with a big save on PSU's leading scorer, senior Nikki Garvey (Canaan, N.H.)
Freshman keeper Alivia Bates (Pennsauken, N.J.) turned away 10 Owls shots in a solid performance in the Panther goal.
Keene State had a 6-2 advantage in shots in the first half. Whittemore denied PSU sophomore Kaitlyn Wilder (Framingham, Mass.) on a good scoring attempt in the 12th minute, while Bates made a pair of nice stops on Keene sophomore Sami Smith (Merrimack, N.H.) early on.
The visitors put more pressure on the Panther goal in the second half. Bates kept the game scoreless with two straight saves on shots by sophomores Marita Brothers (Stafford Springs, Conn.) and Brittney Cardente (North Kingston, R.I.) with 23 minutes on the clock. Bates made three more rapid-fire saves six minutes later on shots by Cardente, Smith and junior Haylie Dolan (West Brookfield, Mass.), but Habelow put home the game-winner a minute later.
PSU plays another Little East home game on Saturday, hosting Eastern Connecticut State University at 2:00 p.m. at Arold Field. KSC also returns to LEC action Saturday with a visit to Western Connecticut State University for a 6:00 p.m. start.
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