KEENE, N.H. - The Keene State field hockey program earned its fourth-consecutive Little East Conference (LEC) Championship title and an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III tournament on Saturday afternoon, as the top-seeded Owls shut out the sixth-seeded University of Southern Maine Huskies, 5-0, at Owl Athletic Complex.
- Keene State: 20-3
- Southern Maine: 9-13
- Keene State will wait to find out who and where the Owls will play in the first round of the NCAA tournament when the field is announced on Sunday.
- Southern Maine wraps up their 2016 campaign, after advancing to their first LEC championship game since 2007.
- "Honestly, I am just so happy for all of this. We deserved it, we worked really hard everyday, we are such a good team, and clearly the chemistry shows. I am just really proud of all of us." - Senior Sami Smith
- "The seniors are so proud; we wanted this so badly. We've been working since freshman year and all throughout the season. This team is just outstanding this year." - Most Outstanding Player and Senior Brittney Cardente
- "This was one of our goals from the beginning of the year and I think it was one of their [the seniors] goals from sophomore year to get four in a row and they did. It's really something." - Head Coach Amy Watson
Tale of the Tape
- Keene State also won LEC titles in 1998, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2015. The Owls will be making their tenth appearance in the NCAA tournament as a NCAA Division III member.
- Senior Brittney Cardente was named the Most Outstanding Player, following her impressive performances throughtout the tournament. Cardente had one goal and two assists throughout the tournament.
- Keene State held a dominate advantage of 20-3 in shots over Southern Maine, including a 16-1 margin in the second stanza.
- The Owls' goalkeeper Gwendolyn Thayer stopped one in the win, while the Huskies' goalkeeper Amanda Kasbohm picked up a season-high 17 saves.
First Half Highlights
- Keene State kept the ball in their offensive half during the opening minutes, but the Owls were denied early chances, as opportunities from Sami Smith and Jensyn Dandeneau could not make it past the goaltending of Kasbohm.
- In the 20th minute, Julia Babbitt finally found a hole in the Southern Maine defense, as the sophomore collected a pass from Kayla Renaud and scored the game-winning goal, to put the Owls up, 1-0.
- The Huskies aimed to strike back two minutes later with an offensive push, but a shot by Samantha Crosman was saved by Thayer.
- Keene State continued to test Kasbohm in the remaining minutes, but the Owls went into halftime up by just one, despite outshooting Southern Maine 14-2.
Second Half Highlights
- Keene State dominated possesion throughout the half, beginning with an insurance goal early, as Sami Smith picked up a deflection from Renaud and found the back of the goal just two minutes into the second half.
- Erica Stauffer increased the lead to three in the 46th minute, as the sophomore was fed a pass from Casi Smith to put the score at 3-0, Keene State.
- In the 48th minute, the Owls were awarded a pentaly stroke, as Casi Smith calmy stepped up to the ball and fired it past Kasbohm for her second goal of the season.
- The final tally of the game came in the 58th minute, as Sami Smith connected with Kendal Brown, as the senior put the ball sharply into the left side for her 35th goal of the season and to seal the victory for the Owls.