KEENE, N.H.--Sophomore Jensyn Dandeneau and freshman Nina Bruno each scored twice to lead the No. 2 seeded Keene State College field hockey team to a 5-3 win over No. 3 seed Plymouth State University in the semifinals of the Little East Conference tournament.
- Keene State: 13-8
- Plymouth State: 12-6
How it Happened
The Owls were on the board early in the game, as Nina Bruno got them on the board at the 3:39 mark. The Panthers hit back with two goals in 90 seconds, both following penalty corners. Maddie Kabasakalian tied the game with a goal in the ninth minute, tipping in a pass from Katie Martin, then put Plymouth State in front when she deflected Patty Newhard's shot from the top of the circle.
Dandeneau tied the score in the 23rd minute, weaving through the Plymouth State defense before beating PSU goalie Alivia Bates. After the teams went into the break at halftime tied at two, Dandeneau put KSC in front for good, curling a shot from just inside the circle past the dive of Bates. Bruno added her second of the game off a pass from Dandeneau to make it 4-2, a goal that would prove crucial, as the Panthers pulled one back through Haley Wakefield with 17 minutes to go.
Keene State cemented the win with three minutes left, as Kendal Brown unleashed one of her patented rocket shots from the left side from Julia Babbitt's corner. Rachel Loseby made four saves in the Owls' net, while Bates made two stops.
- The Owls return to the LEC Championship game for the fifth straight year, and like each of the previous four, will get to play at home. No. 4 seed Westfield State stunned top seeded Worcester State, 5-4, on Wednesday night, setting up a battle of the Owls for the LEC title.
- Keene State is looking to match the five straight championships won by the teams from 2004-08. The Owls have also won titles in 1998, 1999, 2011, and from 2013-16. The programs' 12 are by far the most in Little East Conference history, nearly double the total won by Plymouth State (3), UMass Dartmouth (3), and Southern Maine (1).
- Playing at home on Saturday is a good omen; the Owls have won all 12 of their previous tournament titles on home turf.
- Keene State hosts Westfield State on Saturday at 1 p.m. for the LEC Championship, with the winner receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
- The Panthers, who were bidding to return to the LEC title game for the first time since 2013, see their season end.