KEENE, N.H. 4/27/11 – Keene State College juniors Griffin Meehan (Avon, Conn.) and Matt Schairer (Wrentham, Mass.) combined for 11 goals and two assists, as the Owls men's lacrosse team clinched their second consecutive Little East Conference regular season title with an 18-9 victory over in-state rival Plymouth State on Wednesday afternoon at Owl Athletic Complex on senior day.
The Owls improve to 11-2 overall and 6-0 in conference play, while the Panthers drop to 7-6 and 3-3 in league action. KSC, the only undefeated team remaining in the Little East Conference, also clinch home-field advantage and the number one seed in the conference championship tournament set to begin next Tuesday.
In a tightly contested first quarter, that featured 12 goals, the Owls jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the Panthers evened the score at five apiece on a goal from sophomore midfielder Ty Long (Dover, N.H.) that was assisted by senior Andrew Eriksen (Beverly, Mass.) at the 2:41 mark in the first quarter.
KSC scored two goals in the quarter's final 44 seconds and the first four markers in the second to extend their lead to 11-5 on sophomore midfielder Ian Hart's (Richmond, N.H.) unassisted strike with 6:12 left in the half.
PSU would cut the lead to five on two different occasions, lastly with 8:32 left in the third quarter on freshman Zach Frank's (Wakefield, Mass.) from Stephen Patch (Newbury, N.H.) to make it 13-8.
But the Owls defense shutdown the visiting Panthers offense, allowing no goals in the fourth and final quarter en route to the 18-9 victory in their home regular season finale.
Schairer led all players with seven points on six goals and an assist, while Meehan had five goals and an assist of his own. Junior midfielder Jonathan Rodrick (Plaistow, N.H.) had a season-high five points on four goals and an assist, while sophomore Taylor Jette (Simsbury, Conn.) had four points on three helpers and a strike to open up the fourth quarter.
Sophomore Billy Ries (Putnam Valley, N.Y.) scooped up 18 groundballs and was 17-of-23 on the face-offs for the Owls. Freshman midfielder Andrew Fazio (Shrub Oak, N.Y.) picked up a career-high 14 groundballs, while the defensive tandem of Dan Scimone (Walpole, Mass.), Al Cuomo (Scituate, Mass.) and Warren Dill (Yorktown, N.Y.) caused two turnovers apiece.
For the Panthers, Eriksen led the way with five points on two goals and three assists. Frank and junior Teddy Akriviellis (Dover, Mass.) each netted two goals apiece in the losing effort.
Sophomore Jason Lesser (Brewster, N.Y.) had another strong performance in net for the Owls, coming up with 15 saves in the win. Panther netminder Kevin Hayes (Beverly, Mass.) allowed 17-of-the-18 KSC goals in the losing effort while making 16 saves.
The Owls finish up their 2011 regular season at Salem State on Saturday at 5 p.m. PSU finished the regular season with a home contest against Eastern Conn. State at 1 p.m.