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Keene State edges PSU in ECAC Men’s Soccer Semifinal

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Freshman Eric Scott (West Springfield, Mass.) deflected home a crossing pass from junior Joey Amaio (Wethersfield, Conn.) five minutes into overtime Saturday afternoon, lifting third-seeded Keene State College past second-seeded Plymouth State University, 3-2, in the semifinals of the ECAC Division III New England men's soccer tournament at Panther Field.

The win propels the Owls into Sunday's championship game at defending champion and top-seeded Roger Williams University. The Hawks advanced Saturday with a 2-1 victory over fourth-seeded Coast Guard. Plymouth State completes the campaign with a 12-4-3 overall record.

Plymouth State jumped on the board first, just four minutes into the contest, when senior Michael Cantelli (Raymond, N.H.) sent a ball into the box, where sophomore Brad Wyman (Durham, N.H.) collected it and rifled a shot into the net. Keene State battled back to tie the game at 37:16 when junior Jimmy Hogan (Holderness, N.H.) headed in a goal off a cross from junior Casey Banks (Westborough, Mass.).

PSU got its lead back with 2:52 remaining in the half when senior Sal Friello (West Haven, Conn.) tossed a long throw-in into the box, where freshman Peter Balslev (Charlottelund, Denmark) headed it to senior Chipe Culum (Banja Luka, Bosnia), and Culum finished the play for his third goal of the season.

The Owls trailed at the break despite several other good scoring chances. Senior back Steve Curry (East Lyme, Conn.) nearly put one in from 50 yards out as his wind-aided ball bounced on one hop off the crossbar. PSU senior keeper Brad Wilby (Haddonfield, N.J.) then made a diving stop on Amaio with 11 minutes to go in the half, and 30 seconds later a header by senior Justin Hickman (Mont Vernon, N.H.) just went over the crossbar.

Keene State managed to tie the game at 68:09 when a crossing pass by Scott was deflected past Wilby by a Panther defender. Both teams had a chance to win it in regulation, but KSC junior keeper Brandon Beck (Johnstown, N.Y.) made a nice save on Cantelli with 17 minutes to play, and a KSC shot by Scott was just high.

The outcome was a little revenge for the Owls. Plymouth State had edged Keene State in overtime by the same score during the regular season.

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