KEENE, N.H. - Senior Taylor Graf tallied her 100th-career assist and freshman Gabby Smith put forth a career-high eight-point performance, as the Keene State women's lacrosse program used a second half surge to push past the University of Southern Maine to earn the comeback win, 18-10, in Little East Conference (LEC) quarterfinal action on Tuesday evening at the Owl Athletic Complex.
- No. 3 Keene State: 7-10, 4-2 LEC
- No. 6 Southern Maine: 7-9, 1-5 LEC
How It Happened
Senior Kelly Chadnick led the way for the Owls with five goals and one assist, while Smith tallied eight points on two goals with six helpers. Graf finished the evening with three goals and three assists, followed by a four-point performance from Taylor Farland, as the junior added a hat-trick with one assist.
Ruth Nadeau, Megan Violette, and Allison Irish each registered two goals for the Huskies, while Sam Campobasso added a team-high three assists.
Southern Maine grabbed an early lead on Keene State, as Irish connected with Aubrey Pennell to put the Huskies on the board in the first minute of play. Neither team could gain much momentum in the following minutes, as USM's goalkeeper Hala Van Nostrand made key saves in the opening minutes to keep KSC from finding the back of the net. Nadeau finally broke through by converting a free position opportunity to extend Southern Maine's lead to two with 24:18 remaining in the first half. The Huskies would tack on two more quick goals, within just 12 seconds of one another, to earn a 4-0 lead with 22:18 to go in the first stanza. The Owls finally tallied one of their own with 18:17 on the clock, as junior Tori Weinstock capitalized on a free-position chance. Weinstock kept the momentum going for the Owls, as the midfielder grabbed a feed from Graf and found the back of the net just 19 seconds later to cut Keene State's deficit to two. Back-to-back unassisted strikes by Lewis and Graf allowed the Owls to come even with the Huskies at four, but Southern Maine responded with two goals to regain their two-point edge, 6-4, with 12:05 to go. The two teams traded goals to close out the half, with the final goal coming off the stick of Farland with 12 seconds left on the clock, as the Huskies went into the break holding a one-point edge over the Owls.
Keene State struck first in the second half with the third of four Smith to Chadnick connections to tie it up at eight with 28:17 remaining, yet the Huskies responded with an unassisted goal from Kenzie Kidder just under two minutes later to make it 9-8, Southern Maine. From there, the Owls found their offensive stride, as Chadnick found the back of the net off a fed from Graf with 23:17 to spark a 9-0 run for Keene State, including two goals apiece from Graf, Farland, Smith, Lewis' second and the final Smith to Chadnick connection, to grab a commanding 17-9 lead. Southern Maine would record one final goal as Campobasso found Irish in front of the net, but Masci connected with Lewis to ice the victory with a Keene State goal, as the Owls outscored the Huskies 11-2 in the second half for the win.
Inside the Crease
- Graf tallied her 100th-career assist on her first helper of the evening, becoming just the second Keene State women's lacrosse student-athlete to reach the 100-assist milestone.
- Senior keeper Alison Argiro made nine stops in all 60 minutes of action, while Van Nostrand registered seven saves between the pipes.
- Junior Tara Kilderry forced a team-high six caused turnovers and picked up four ground balls, as junior Tori Weinstock grabbed two groundballs, three draw controls and tallied three caused turnovers.
- For the Huskies, Pennell registered game-highs of six ground balls and seven caused turnovers, while Aliza Jordan finished with five ground balls, three draw controls, and five caused turnovers.
- The Owls tallied a season-best 30 points in tonight's contest, with both a season-high numbers of 18 goals with 12 assists.
- This is the third time in four years that Keene State has eliminated Southern Maine from the LEC tournament.
- No. 3 Keene State will travel to No. 2 Plymouth State on Thursday, May 4th for a 4:00 p.m. matchup in LEC semifinal action.
- No. 6 Southern Maine sees their 2017 season come to a close.