Panthers double-up Keene State to claim first title since 2006
KEENE, N.H. – Third-seeded Plymouth State University scored the final four goals of the game and held top-seeded Keene State College off the scoreboard over the final 23 minutes Sunday afternoon, defeating the Owls 8-4 to capture the 2014 Little East Conference Tournament championship at Owl Athletic Complex.
The Panthers (12-4) won their fifth Little East Tournament championship and their first since 2006. Keene State (13-5), which had won two of the last three LEC title games, was seeking its fourth title. PSU advances to the NCAA Division III Championships for the fifth time in school history; the NCAA announcement will be made Sunday evening at 9:30 p.m. on NCAA.com.
PSU senior goalie Lorin Field (Hollis, N.H./Hollis-Brookline) was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. Field made 15 saves in PSU's upset victory over second-seeded Western Connecticut State University in the semifinal round and 15 more against the Owls on Sunday.
Junior Shannon Connerty (Nashua, N.H./Tyngsboro, Mass.) led the Panther offense with two goals and two assists, including two straight goals in the second half after PSU tied the game at 4-4, and classmate Amy MacDonald (Hull, Mass.) added a goal and two assists. Senior Allie Gonyea (Auburn, N.H./Memorial) and freshman Megan Lunetta (Plymouth, Mass./North) paced the defense, Gonyea with five ground balls and Lunetta with four caused turnovers.
Goals were at a premium in the lowest scoring title game in LEC history; MacDonald opened the scoring with an unassisted goal just over a minute into the game, and the Owls responded with Kaitlin Nolan's free position shot at 23:22. The Panthers made it 2-1 when junior Molly Gleason (Haverhill, Mass.) converted a pass from Connerty.
KSC took its first lead on a goal from Kelly Chadnick off a turnover by Field, after Julie Trombetta had tied the score with an unassisted goal at 18:35. PSU levelled things up before the break when freshman Caroline Vonachen (Framingham, Mass.) scored with four seconds left before halftime.
The Panthers again opened the half with a quick goal, this time off the stick of freshman Kaitlyn Wilder (Framingham, Mass.), only to see Nolan set up Ashley Borjeson for a goal with 23:40 to play to tie the score at four.
Keene State would not score again, as Connerty gave the Panthers the lead for good 54 seconds later, then added another with 12:13 to go. Late goals from junior Rachel Fistori (Medford, Mass./Arlington, Catholic) and freshman Jordyn Godfrey (Glenville, N.Y.) rounded out the scoring.
Erin Taylor made eight saves in the net for Keene State, which outshot the Panthers 24-17. The Owls had defeated Plymouth State 9-6 in the regular season matchup on April 17.
(Contributions from Keene State Sports Information)
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