KEENE, N.H. - For the eighth time in Little East Conference (LEC) tournament history and for the fourth consecutive year, the Keene State men's lacrosse program claimed the LEC Championship, as the top-seeded Owls defeated the second-seeded University of Massachusetts Boston Beacons, 28-11, at the Owl Athletic Complex on Saturday afternoon.
- Keene State: 14-3
- UMass Boston: 9-8
How It Happened
Eleven different Owls scored in the season-high 28-goal victory, as senior Robert Hart led the way with six goals and two assists. Junior Hunter Arnold followed with a career-tying five goals and two assists, while senior Bryan Rotatori registered a hat-trick with two helpers. Defensively, sophomore JJ Downey scooped up a season-high eight ground balls, as senior Mike Wiedenfeld grabbed six ground balls and forced three caused turnovers.
Clay Arnold paced the Beacons with a team-high five goals and three assists, as Calvin Lee recorded three goals with two assists. Jack Dillion picked up a game-high 10 ground balls with six caused turnovers.
It was a quick start for Keene State, as Hart struck in the first minute to give the Owls a one-point advantage, before Rotatori, H. Arnold and junior Frank Bacarella each found the back of the net to push the score to 4-0, KSC. The Beacons found their first goal of the game with 9:56 remaining in the first quarter, as C. Arnold found an open Lee in front of the net, but Keene State responded just 31 seconds later, as senior Ryan Askham found Hart in transition to ignite a 7-0 run to close out the first stanza with a double digit lead of 11-1 in favor of KSC.
The Owls continued to show their offensive stamina in the second quarter, as Keene State received goals from Hart, H. Arnold, Rotatori, Bacarella and freshman Dave Weidenfeld to outscore UMass Boston 7-2 and earn an 18-3 edge at halftime.
The Beacons found an offensive stride in the second half, but the Owls used a 10-8 margin in goals, along with their advantage from before the break, to cruise to their fourth straight LEC title and eleventh straight victory in the 2017 campaign.
Inside the Crease
- Hart was named the Most Outstanding Player for his terrific six-point effort against Eastern Connecticut State and eight-point performance against UMass Boston. Over the two LEC tournament games, the senior scored 10 goals and four assists with eight ground balls.
- Keene State's 28 goals tied the KSC record for most goals in a single game.
- All four Owls' goalkeepers saw time in net, as junior Mathew Howe earned the start and the win, while freshman keepers J.J. Tinney, Cameron Eddy, and Jeff Bernard all recorded one save. For the Beacons, Alex Surette made 19 stops in 49:59 minutes of play, while Nick Passalugo stopped three in the remaining 10:01 minutes of action.
- From the faceoff 'x', junior Greg Shawinsky went 16-for-18 and senior Nick Morin was 10-of-13 for Keene State, while Matt Murphy was 17-for-43 for UMass Boston.
- The Owls finished LEC play as the league's top offensive team with 318 goals and 179 assists, including scoring an average of 18.71 goals per game, and held the lowest goals against average of 9.59.
- Keene State now ties Eastern Connecticut State for the most men's lacrosse LEC tournament titles, as each team holds eight.
- Keene State earns an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III tournament and will make its eighth overall NCAA appearance. The Owls will find out their opponent for the opening round of the NCAA tournament when selections are announced on Sunday night. The 2017 NCAA bracket with be posted here.
- With the loss, the Beacons 2017 campaign comes to a close.