Mezquita notches first two career goals in LEC setback
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Freshman Jess Mezquita (Atkinson, N.H.) scored her first two career goals, but Plymouth State University was nipped, 3-2, by rival Keene State College following a penalty shootout in a Little East Conference (LEC) field hockey game at the New Hampton School on Saturday morning.
Mezquita gave the Panthers a 2-0 first half lead, but Keene State battled back with a pair of second half tallies and after 20 scoreless overtime minutes the game went into a penalty shootout. Plymouth State scored on its first attempt, and Keene made good on its second attempt. With the shootout still tied 1-1, KSC senior Mia Brickley (Holderness, N.H.) scored on the final attempt to earn the win.
Plymouth State drops to 4-7 overall and 4-5 in the LEC, while Keene State improves to 12-3 and 8-1 in league play.
Plymouth State 2, Keene State 3 (SO)
Plymouth State 4-8, 4-5 LEC
Keene State 12-3, 8-1 LEC
How it Happened:
* Mezquita gave the Panthers some early lead with her first career goal in the fourth minute. On a set play off a penalty corner, Newhard carried the ball across the right side of the arc and fired a shot that was turned aside by sophomore goalkeeper Rachel Loseby (Hartford, Vt.). Mezquita jumped on the rebound in traffic and slipped the ball into the back of the net.
* Keene nearly got the goal back just four minutes later. Sophomore Nina Bruno (Agawam, Mass.), the LEC's leading scorer, led the Owls on a 3-on-1 break, but sophomore goalkeeper Jess Distler (Brookfield, N.H.) made a sprawling save to keep the PSU lead intact.
* Plymouth doubled its lead on another penalty corner goal after time expired at the end of the first half. Mezquita knocked a loose ball out of the air on the backhand to make it a 2-0 game at the intermission.
* Bruno had breakaway opportunity in the 39th minute, but sophomore Laura Secone (Harpswell, Maine) made a nice play to break it up.
* Keene State cut the deficit in half in the 46th minute. Senior Julia Babbitt (Haddam, Conn.) sent a cross from the right side to sophomore Kayla Klein (West Brookfield, Mass.) at the far post and Klein was able to redirect the ball into the goal.
* The Panthers nearly restored the two-goal lead four minutes later. Sophomore Haley Wakefield (South Paris, Maine) carried the ball up the right side before centering the ball to freshman Shannon Ford (Bow, N.H.) in front of the goal, but Loseby made a diving stop.
* Keene State pulled even in the 53rd minute. Off a penalty corner, senior Erica Stauffer (Cheshire, Conn.) ripped a shot from the left side that deflected off a stick and over the shoulder of Distler.
* Newhard and Wakefield peppered Loseby with shots in the 63rd minute, but the goalkeeper was able to deny both attempts to keep the score even.
* Bruno had a pair of golden opportunities in the 65th minute, but Distler came way out of the cage to make a diving save, then recovered to deny Bruno on the rebound attempt.
How it Happened (Shootout):
* Plymouth went up 1-0 in the first round. Newhard capitalized on her attempt, carrying the ball in on the left side before sending the ball back to the far post, while Distler was able to clear Stauffer's shot.
* Loseby made a sliding stop against Wakefield, and Owls' junior Ally McCall (Watertown, Mass.) cut back to the right side to even the shootout at 1-1.
* Neither goalkeeper allowed a goal in the third round, and Secone nearly put the Panthers ahead with her fourth round shot, but it deflected off the post.
* Loseby denied Ham in the final round for the Panther, setting up Brickley's heroics for KSC. The 5-3 midfielder cut to the right and sent her shot under the diving Distler for the win.
Inside the Numbers:
* Mezquita broke out in a big way, picking up her first two collegiate goals for PSU.
* Klein's tally was her 18th of the season. She trails just Bruno among the LEC's top goal-scorers.
* Both goalkeepers were outstanding all day. Distler finished with nine saves, while Loseby made seven stops.
* Keene finished with a 20-11 edge in shots, but just an 11-9 advantage in shots on goal.
* It was the first regular season contest to go to a penalty shootout for either program.
* Keene State has won each of the last five match-ups between the two teams, including a pair of wins in the LEC Tournament. PSU last topped the Owls in 2015 in a 1-0 game.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"I am so proud of the strides that this team has made in the past two weeks," praised head coach Bonnie Lord. "To play one of the top teams in the LEC to 90 minutes of double overtime and into a shootout speaks for the great game that was played today. We are very excited as we know that this team has not peaked yet and it's happening at the perfect time."
* PSU travels to Southern Maine for a key Little East contest at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday (Oct. 17).
* The Owls host Fitchburg State on Wednesday (Oct. 17) in a 6:30 p.m. LEC game.
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