LEC Men's Soccer Tournament: Douglas' overtime goal lifts Owls over R.I. College 3-2; With video highlights
KEENE, N.H. 11/2/11- Sophomore Scott Douglas'(East Greenwich, R.I.) third goal of the game 3:36 into overtime lifted the second seeded Keene State College men's soccer team to a dramatic 3-2 win over third-seed Rhode Island College in a Little East Conference semifinal tournament game played at Owl Athletic Complex on Wednesday night.
The defending LEC champion Owls (11-7-1) will now travel to Willimantic, Conn. on Saturday (1 p.m.) where they will face top seed Eastern Conn. State in the tournament finals. The Warriors advanced to the championship with a 4-0 shutout victory over fourth seed UMass-Dartmouth.
Wednesday's semifinal game between the Owls and the Anchormen had a little bit of everything; highlight goals, goals called back on off-side calls, super saves by goalies and defenders and a poker hand of yellow and red cards.
"It was a typical LEC play-off game," said KSC Coach Ron Butcher. "Teams get up to try to knock us off. We handled a lot of adversity tonight and kept on coming back."
Coming back in the game after injuring his hip early in the second half, Douglas was at the right place at the right time to score the game-winner. Junior Blake Nyman's (Plymouth, Mass.) pass intended for junior Danny Silverman (Maynard, Mass.) deflected to Douglas, who sent a low, hard shot past RIC senior goalie Nick Clark (East Bridgewater, Mass.). "I was just tried to kick it, 'said Douglas, who notched his 14th goal and third hat trick of the season. "It's good to be lucky."
Douglas gave Keene State an early 2-0 lead, beating two RIC defenders for an unassisted goal just 43 seconds into the game. His second goal came at the 6:02 mark on a lead pass from Nyman. "Even when it was 2-0, we knew it was still going to be a battle," said Douglas.
Douglas was right. Senior Hector Espildora Fortuno (Malaga, Spain) cut the Owls' lead in half with a well-placed free kick to the top right corner of the net at the 14:37 mark.
The goal ignited the Anchormen who controlled play the remainder of the half. KSC sophomore goalie Malcolm Cheney (Hopkinton, Mass.) as well as Nyman and the KSC defense took turns holding off the Anchormen. Nyman broke up a two-on one break and Cheney robbed junior Donald Dane (Derry, N.H.) with a point-blank save.
RIC kept the pressure on the Owls in the second half. The Anchorman appeared to get the equalizer at the 33:00 mark, but Cheney came up big once again, getting to freshman Patrick LaRoche's drive before it went over the goal line. "In those situations, you don't have time to think, you just react,' said Cheney, who finished the game with eight saves.
Later in the half, Cheney and Nyman combined to keep RIC of the board. Cheney stopped the initial shot by junior Ignacio Cespedes (Fitchburg, Mass.) and Nyman, with the goal open, was Johnny-on-the-spot to knock away Cespedes rebound bid. "The ball just hit me in the foot," said Nyman. "I was fortunate that the ball didn't go in the back of the net."
The Owls luck ran out at the 26:32 mark of the second half when Espildora Fortuno scored his second goal of the game, converting a cross from senior Bruno Costa (Pawtucket, R.I.) following a corner opportunity.
RIC had to play a man down for the final 7:55 of the second half and the overtime when freshman David Ricci (Smithfield, R.I) was issued his second yellow card of the game.
Both teams pressed to net the game-winner in the overtime until the ball rolled the Owls' way.
"I won't forget this game for awhile," said Cheney. "Both game left it on the field."
"This team has come so far from being 1-3-1 early in the season," said Butcher. I'm really happy for the guys."
"We're on track, we're playing real well right now and we'll be ready for Eastern Conn." said Nyman.
Clark finished the game with three saves for the Anchorman, who fall to 11-8.
Keene State will be making its ninth trip to the finals. They won five championships in (1999, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2010). Eastern Conn. and Keene State battled to a 0-0 tie in the 2007 finals with the Warriors awarded the title on penalty kicks.