KEENE, N.H. - Kayla Klein blasted a penalty stroke into the back of the cage with just over three minutes remaining in the first overtime to propel the Keene State College field hockey team to a wild, back-and-forth 3-2 victory over league-leading Worcester State University Wednesday night at Owl Athletic Complex.
- Keene State: 11-6, 9-2 LEC
- Worcester State: 13-4, 9-1 LEC
How It Happened
Klein's strike, which tied her for the team lead with 15 goals on the season, in the 67th minute put an end to a contest that saw each team answer each other repeatedly before the Owls eventually handed the Lancers their first confence loss of 2019 and jammed up the top of the Little East standings.
Keene State had the better of the chances early on, as they outshot Worcester 5-2 in the opening 15 minutes and scored following a corner at the 12:29 mark. Maggie Cahoon inserted the ball in to Ally McCall at the top of the circle, who fired it in and watched Klein direct the ball to Cahoon, who wound up starting and finishing the sequence for a 1-0 lead. The Owls' tally came after WSU keeper Jess Hopkins stopped tries from Klein and Kelsey Roberts in the 8th and 11th minutes, respectively. Hopkins made two more stops about halfway through the second quarter to keep it a one-goal differential, and her team found their legs as the period went on, with Olivia Antonelli firing wide in the 26th minute and and then forcing KSC goalkeeper Rachel Loseby to make a stop at the 27:29 mark. The visitors very nearly tied the game in the final minute before halftime, but McCall made a dazzling defensive save, poking away Antonelli's bid that was aimed for the near post to keep it 1-0 at the break. The Owls outshot WSU 9-6 in the first 30 minutes, while the Lancers had a 6-4 edge in corners.
Worcester State carried play for the majority of the second half, which included holding KSC without a shot in the third quarter. However, the visitors could not find a way past Loseby, who kept out two tries from the conference's leading goal scorer Rachel Hopkins, one at the 33:33 mark and the next with three minutes left in the period.
KSC continued to nurse a 1-0 edge into the final 15 minutes, but what ensued was a wild back-and-forth that forced overtime. Worcester State broke through to tie the game just 1:11 into the fourth, as Antonelli took a corner and eventually scored just seconds later. The deadlock lasted all of one minute. KSC received a corner of their own and, after passing the ball around the circle, found an open Hailey Beaupre in the middle of the circle, who picked an opportune time for her first career goal, putting Keene State up 2-1 in the 48th minute. The Lancers refused to go away, evening the score again with just over four minutes to go. Antonelli took another corner and, after Loseby kicked out the initial chance, the ball pinballed around and found Sarah Duff, who scored to make it 2-2. Offense continued to flow for WSU, who tried to take the lead for the first time all game in the closing minutes, but Loseby made a pair of stops in the final 2:10 to send the game to OT.
It was Keene State who controlled the action in the extra session, and the Owls were eventually rewarded. Jess Hopkins made two saves on Nina Bruno, the first on a backhand try in the 64th minute and the second a sprawling stop on a bid right in front. However, in the process of that, KSC was awarded an overtime penalty stroke. Klein stepped up and whistled her shot right under the stick of Jess Hopkins, punctuating an exciting end to a 3-2 win for the Owls.
Loseby (9-6) made seven stops in the win for KSC, while Worcester's Hopkins (13-4) made eight in the loss.
- Beaupre became the seventh Owl to net their first collegiate goal this season.
- It was Keene State's second overtime game of the season, with the first coming way back on September 7.
- KSC is 22-4 all-time against Worcester State, but had lost to the Lancers each of the last two years.
- The win moves Keene to within a half-game of first place behind Western Connecticut State University and Worcester, who are both 9-1. Keene is 9-2, but has the head-to-head tiebreaker over both teams. The Owls wrap up their league schedule this weekend, while WCSU and WSU each have two more conference contests.
- As mentioned, Keene State concludes their LEC slate with a matchup at Framingham State University on Saturday, October 26 at 2:00 pm.
- Worcester State travels to Plymouth State University on the same day for a 12:00 pm start.