PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Sophomore Alex Horne (Harvard, Mass.) scored all three goals Saturday evening to lead second-seeded Keene State College to a 3-0 victory over top-seeded Plymouth State University in the championship game of the Little East Conference Men's Soccer Tournament at Panther Field.
Keene State, which lost to Plymouth State 1-0 in double overtime earlier this year, evens the season series, but more importantly, the Owls (14-5-1) received the LEC's automatic berth in the Division III NCAA Tournament. NCAA Tourney seedings will be announced Sunday night. The Panthers, 10-6-2, will await a possible ECAC Tournament berth, which will be announced on Monday.
It was a very evenly played game, with both teams getting quality scoring chances. The Panthers finished with a 12-10 advantage in shots, but the Owls capitalized on their chances to capture the crown.
Horne, who was named the Most Outstanding Player, scored his first goal on a nice through-ball from senior Eric Scott (West Springfield, Mass.) in the 31st minute. He knocked home his second goal at the 63:12 mark, with an assist from sophomore Noah Hertzler (Hancock, N.H.), and rounded out the scoring with an unassisted marker at 72:15. Horne now has a team-high 13 goals on the season.
Keene State sophomore Peter Kersker (Beverly, Mass.) made eight saves to record his fourth shutout of the season, while PSU sophomore netminder Tyler Shute (Deerfield, N.H.) finished with four saves.
The Owls earned their fifth LEC title, adding to the ones they captured in 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2004. The Panthers and Owls have met in three LEC championship games, with Keene State winning all three (1999, 2001, 2006).
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