KEENE, N.H. - Sophomore Emily Persano (Somers, Conn.) scored a career-high five goals and sophomore Lauren Sawyer (Westbrook, Maine) dished out six assists, breaking the school's career record, in Keene State College's 15-12 Little East Conference women's lacrosse victory over rival Plymouth State University Tuesday afternoon at rainy Owl Athletic Complex.
Keene State (9-7, 4-1 LEC), winners of five straight, secures the second seed in the upcoming LEC tournament with the win. Plymouth State (4-8, 4-2 LEC), which saw its three-game winning streak come to an end, clinches third place in the Little East regular season, a marked improvement after finishing seventh last year and getting picked fifth in this year's preseason poll.
The highly-contested game featured multiple momentum swings. The Owls took the largest lead of the first half (4-2) on a goal by sophomore Jill Kirk (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.). The Panthers answered with three straight goals going up 5-4 on a goal by junior Kalie Judd (Peabody, Mass.).
Feeding Kirk for a goal that tied the game at 6-all, Sawyer picked up her fourth assist of the game and 83rd of her career, breaking the previous mark held by Michelle Mason. The teams went to the locker room with the score knotted at 7-all.
After freshman Brianna Davis (Framingham, Mass.) put PSU up 11-10 with a free position goal, KSC netted the next three goals to take a 13-11 lead at the 15:01 mark. Kirk scored on a feed from sophomore Jenny Lillis to give KSC a 12-11 lead and Persano fired in a close-range shot 30 seconds later to give the Owls a two goal (13-11) lead.
A goal by Judd cut the lead to one (13-12), but Persano, racing down the right side of the field, scored a key insurance goal for KSC.
The Panthers had several opportunities to get back in the game, but KSC senior goalie Jenn Gearing made key saves off the sticks of Davis and senior Sarah Bryant (Arrowsic, Maine) in the closing minutes of the game. Sophomore Jenny Lillis (West Islip, N.Y.) put the game away with a late goal.
Kirk finished the game with four goals and junior Dene Tully (Peabody, Mass.) scored a pair for the Owls. Davis and Judd each had four goals for the Panthers and junior Taylor Cambal (West Yarmouth, Mass.) added two goals and four assists.
Keene State wraps up its regular season at Southern Maine on Saturday (1 p.m.). The Panthers close out their regular season Thursday at Colby-Sawyer (4:00 p.m.).
(Courtesy of Keene State Sports Information)
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