Blair’s goal lifts Owls past Panthers in tight affair
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Senior Cam Blair (Keene, N.H.) scored the game-winning goal just 2:29 into overtime Saturday afternoon to lift Keene State College past Plymouth State University, 3-2, in the Little East Conference men’s soccer opener for both schools at Panther Field.
Keene State led 1-0 on a goal late in the first half, and maintained a 2-1 margin much of the second half after the teams swapped scores soon after the break. Plymouth State came back to deadlock the contest with a little more than 10 minutes left in regulation, but the Owls pulled out the win on Blair’s overtime game-winner. KSC improves to 5-2-0 overall (1-0 LEC) while PSU drops to 1-3-1 overall (0-1 LEC).
The game was scoreless throughout most of the first half. Keene State nearly got on the board with 19 minutes on the clock when sophomore Joe Senecal (Manchaug, Mass.) broke in alone and dribbled past the Panther keeper but by the time he got a shot off, PSU defender Dre Cabral (Tokyo, Japan) had come over to break up the play.
The visitors broke the ice with 2:12 to play in the half when a Keene State striker was fouled in the offensive box, and sophomore Danny Silverman (Maynard, Mass.) converted the ensuing penalty kick for a 1-0 Owls’ lead at the intermission.
Plymouth State tied the game 10 minutes into the second half when senior Tommy Schrey (Munich, Germany) scored his first goal of the season on a header off a feed from freshman Moses Igah (Abuja, Nigeria). But Keene State countered less than a minute later when Senecal got loose on a breakaway and finished off the play for his fourth goal of the season.
Keene State had a chance at taking a two-goal lead with 11 minutes remaining when junior Alex Larson (Williamsport, Pa.) sent freshman Scott Douglas (East Greenwich, R.I.) in alone on the keeper with a nice through pass, but Douglas’ shot went wide left.
Less than a minute later, PSU got the equalizer when sophomore Parker Spear (Sodus Point, N.Y.) sent a cross into the box, and freshman Arthur Opara (Abuja, Nigeria) collected the ball and lobbed it over the keeper to tie the score at 2-2 with 10:35 to play. PSU nearly got a go-ahead goal with three minutes remaining but a strong left-footed attempt by Schrey from the top of the box rang off the right goal post.
The Owls came out strong in the extra session and out-shot the Panthers 3-0, and won the game when Senecal collected a loose ball along the left end line and fed Blair in front, who knocked the ball into the right corner for his third goal of the season.
Shots in the game were tied at 17 for each team, and Keene State had a 6-2 advantage in corner kicks. KSC sophomore keeper Nick Allman (Newburyport, Mass.) made five saves to earn the victory while PSU sophomore Bjorn Ohlsson (Halmstad, Sweden) finished with four saves.
Plymouth State is back in action Tuesday with a non-conference match-up at Bates College (4:30 p.m.). Keene State plays next on Wednesday with a non-conference visit to Worcester State University (7:00 p.m.)
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