Downey's Late Winner Sends Men's Soccer to LEC Title Game

Downey's Late Winner Sends Men's Soccer to LEC Title Game

MANSFIELD, Conn.--This one didn't get away.  Eight days after a heartbreaking loss to UMass Boston in the regular season finale, the Keene State College men's soccer team turned the tables on the Beacons with a 1-0 win in the semifinals of the Little East Conference tournament at the Mansfield Turf Complex at Eastern Connecticut State.

Records

  • Keene State: 13-5
  • UMass Boston 9-10-2

How it Happened

The Owls dominated on offense, outshooting UMass Boston 21-4, but could not find a winner until just five minutes remained, when Connor Downey popped in his fifth of the season following a corner kick.

Jacob Chiza tested Omar Castro-Dreher in the 12th minute, while KSC freshman goalie Anthony Pasciuto pushed aside a shot from the Beacons' Eric Murakami.  Both teams spurned opportunities as the first half ended, as Vance Bates shot wide the Owls and Riven Rodrigues did the same for the Beacons.

Keene State played the final 33 minutes with a man-advantage when UMB's Christopher Garcia received his marching orders on a straight red card in the 57th minute, but struggled to find the goal that would send them to the LEC tournament final.  KSC pressed and pressed for a winner, as Benny Tamzarian forced a save from Beacons' goalie Omar Castro-Dreher, and Downey and Emmanuel Smith rattled the cross back on consecutive shot attempts.

After Smith hit the crossbar, KSC was awarded a corner, and following a scramble in the box, Downey arrived on the spot to score the goal the Owls needed.

Inside the Box

  • The Owls are returning to the final for the first time since 2014, and for the 10th time overall.  KSC won the LEC tournament in 1999, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2010, and was the finalist in 2003, 2007, 2011, and 2014.
  • KSC will face Western Connecticut State in the final.  The Owls and Colonials have met in the LEC championship game twice before, with KSC winning in 2002 and the Colonials taking the rematch a year later.   KSC won the regular season matchup, 1-0 on October 13, with Emmanuel Smith getting the lone goal less than five minutes into the game.
  • The 1-0 win was the fifth KSC victory by that exact score this season.

Up Next

  • The Beacons, who had won three of the last four LEC tournament championships, end their season.  Keene State will face defending tournament champion Western Connecticut State in the final at 12 p.m. on Sunday, November 4 at the same Mansfield Turf Complex.  The winner will receive the LEC's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.