KEENE, N.H. 4/30/09 - Keene State attack freshman Griffin Meehan (Simsbury, Conn.) and seniors Rodney Arganese (Trumbull, Conn.) and Tony Santa Fe (Derry, N.H.) combined for half of Keene State goals as the second seeded Owls rolled to a 16-8 victory over third seed the University of Southern Maine in a Little East Conference tournament semifinal game played Thursday night in Keene.
Winners of five straight games, Keene State (9-3) advances to the Saturday's championship game against top seed Eastern Conn. The Warriors defeated fourth seed Plymouth State 10-5 in their semifinal game.
Southern Maine falls to 11-7.
Keene State led 7-0 after the first quarter and 13-2 at the half.
"We did what we needed to do," said Meehan, who finished the game with four goals. "We had a game plan and we stuck to it."
Concern about a letdown, KSC Coach Mark Theriault reminded the team what happened last season when they were semifinal upset victims to Western Conn. "It's quite simple, if you don't come out to play, the season is done," he said. "At the same time, I think we had the confidence against this team earlier that we could play well and execute."
In addition to Meehan, Arganese had two goals and two assists and Santa Fe finished with a goal and five assists to propel the attack. Sophomore Cam Sousa (Hollis, N.H.) came off the bench to score three goals while senior Casey Brodersen (Derry, N.H.), junior Jamie Lesage (Exeter, N.H.), junior Dax Greene (Westborough, Mass.), sophomore Michael Araujo (Southborough, Mass.), and freshman Chris Mallon (New Fairfield, Conn.) each scored once.
Senior Preston Gilbert (Saco, Me.) had two goals and an assist and freshman Kayle Hamilton (Buxton, Me.) and sophomore Cason Carlson (Brattleboro, Vt.) each scored a goal for the Huskies.
Sophomore Alex Corliss (Waltham, Mass.) and freshman Kevin LeSage (Exeter, N.H.) each played a half in goal for KSC. Corliss made five saves and LeSage stopped eight shots.
Senior James Suriyodorn (Deer Park, N.Y.) started in goal for USM and made seven saves. Freshman A.J. Crippen (Topsham, Me.) came into the game when Suriyodorn was issued a penalty, and didn't record a save.
Keene State will be facing Eastern Conn. in the finals for the sixth time in the past seven years, winning the championship in 2005 and 2007.
"The game was relatively close the first time and if we do what we've done the past few games - take care of the ball - we'll be in great shape," said Theriault. "We're not going into the game thinking that we're the underdog, and there's no way we can win the game, it's more about us taking care of the basics. I think we're in great shape and the players are excited."