KEENE, N.H. - On a cold and damp Saturday at Owl Athletic Complex, Castleton University scored with just over four minutes remaining in double overtime to beat the Keene State College field hockey team 5-4 in a battle for first place in the Little East Conference.
- Keene State: 14-6, 10-2 LEC
- Castleton: 13-4, 11-1 LEC
How It Happened
In a game that featured four different ties and nine goals - seven in the first half - Castleton tallied the last two to clinch first place in their inaugural Little East season. The scoring was fast and furious early, as Loretta Blakeney had the Spartans on the board just 4:34 in. Keene State needed less than three minutes to answer, as Ally McCall fed leading scorer Nina Bruno in the 7th minute to tie the game at one. Bruno was at it again shortly thereafter to give KSC the lead. Following a corner taken by Julia Babbitt, Kayla Klein set up Bruno for a 2-1 lead at the 15:05 mark. Keene State goalie Rachel Loseby made a trio of stops in less than two minutes to keep the Owls ahead, but Castleton broke though and evened the game on Gabriella Hunt's tally in the 22nd minute. The wild action continued, as Babbitt put KSC ahead 3-2, only to see the Spartans' Allison Lowell even it up just 1:55 later. The Owls appeared to have a momentum-boosting goal in the final minute of the action-packed first half when got into the scoring column, giving KSC a 4-3 lead at the 34:16 mark. Keene State outshot Castleton 11-8 in the opening stanza and had five of nine corners.
It did not take long after halftime for the Spartans to be even again. After Loseby made two stops, Castleton utilized a corner opportunity in the 43rd minute to tie the game 4-4 on Lowell's second goal of the day. The scoring slowed considerably from there. Looking to put the Owls ahead again, Bruno was denied by Spartans goalkeeper Tashia Pashby-Rockwood and, later, in the 48th minute a shot by McCall was blocked. Castleton had six penalty corners in the final 20 minutes, but was unable to cash in, as Loseby made a pair of saves and Hailey Beaupre made a defensive save on Cydney Jeffrey with less than a minute remaining. Meanwhile, Bruno's shot in the 60th minute was denied by Pashby-Rockwood, and two last minute KSC penalty corners, including one with no time remaining in regulation, went for naught.
The Owls had an early corner in overtime, but two successive shots were wide. In the 79th minute, Loseby stopped Megan Ryan's effort, and Sarah Wells' second effort on two quick-fire attempts trickled wide of the cage. Castleton's shot off a corner with zeroes on the OT clock went wide. The Spartans controlled the second extra session. Loseby stopped Hunt and Wells' efforts in the 84th and 85th minutes, but, a little over a minute later, Wells found the back of the cage for the game-winner at 85:27.
Loseby (14-6) made 11 stops in the loss for the Owls. Counterpart Pashby-Rockwood saved five for Castleton, improving to 13-4.
- The last overtime game at home for the Owls was three years to the day, as KSC fell 2-1 to Smith on October 27, 2015. The Owls are 2-1 in extra time this season.
- Keene State is 12-2 all-time against Castleton.
- The Spartans outshot the Owls 23-16, including 7-2 in the overtimes, and had a 14-10 advantage in penalty corners.
- Before the game, KSC honored seniors Babbitt, Erica Stauffer, Mia Brickley, and Courtney Jessup for their contributions to the program. The senior class is looking for their fourth Little East Tournament Championship.
- Keene State, the No. 2 seed in the Little East Conference Tournament, will host 7th-seeded Bridgewater State University on Tuesday, October 30 at 6:30 pm. The Owls defeated the Bears 7-3 on October 9 at Owl Athletic Complex.
- Having clinched the Little East regular season title, top-seeded Castleton will entertain No. 8 seed Eastern Connecticut State University on the same day.