Owls defense stifles Panthers
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Keene State College outscored Plymouth State University 8-0 over the final 27 minutes Tuesday afternoon and stormed to a 14-9 victory over Plymouth State University in a key Little East Conference women's lacrosse match-up at Arold Field.
The Owls (8-6) take control of first place in the LEC with a 4-0 mark, while the Panthers (8-4) slide into a three-way tie for second place at 2-1 with Eastern Connecticut and UMass Dartmouth. KSU upset top-seeded PSU in last year's LEC championship game.
Junior Jenna Bellano (Brookfield, Conn.) led the Owls with five goals, while sophomore Taylor Farland (Fiskdale, Mass.) tallied three goals and senior Kaitlin Nolan (Mahopac, N.Y.) and freshman Samantha Ballard (Queensbury, N.Y.) contributed two goals and two assists each. Senior Laura Gendreau (Westfield, Mass.) picked up a team-high six ground balls, and Nolan and Ballard combined for nine draw controls.
The Owls defense forced the home team into 31 turnovers, led by junior Amanda Makar (Yorktown, N.Y.) and senior Natalie Barnett (Cheshire, Conn.) with three caused turnovers apiece.
Junior Caroline Vonachen (Framingham, Mass.) led the offensive effort for PSU with three goals, while sophomores Sam Sullivan (Canton, Mass.) and Sophia Guerriero (Essex, Mass.) scored two goals each. Guerriero collected a team-high six ground balls, and freshman Kimmie Zuccaro (Townsend, Mass.) had solid all-around numbers with a goal, three draw controls, three ground balls and a team-high three caused turnovers.
Plymouth State had control of the game early on, scoring the first five goals of the game and causing a KSU timeout 10 minutes in. The Owls regrouped and answered with three straight goals to get back in the game, and PSU went on to an 8-5 lead at the half.
The teams traded goals in the first three minutes of the half, and it was all Owls the rest of the way with eight unanswered goals. Farland scored two goals and Bellano one as Keene tied the game at 9-9 with 16:54 on the clock, and took the lead for good 17 seconds later when Ballard set up junior Taylor Graf (Hanover, Mass.). The Owls pulled away with goals by Nolan, Bellano and sophomore Tori Weinstock (Brookfield, Conn.) in a minute-span around the 10 minute mark, and Farland rounded out the scoring in the final minute.
Freshman Anna O'Brien (Winchester, Mass.) came off the Owl bench to earn the win in goal, making four saves over the final 34 minutes while allowing just one goal. Junior Meg Brault (South Windsor, Conn.) made 13 saves in the Panther goal but suffered the loss.
PSU is back in action Saturday with a Little East contest at Eastern Connecticut State University, beginning at 12 noon. Keene State returns home to host UMass Dartmouth Saturday in a Little East meeting at 1:00 p.m.
-- 30 --