'KEENE, N.H. 10/9/03 - Keene State College and Plymouth State University men's soccer teams will continue their long standing rivalry at Owl Athletic Complex on Saturday. The key Little East Conference game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.
Both teams enter the game with undefeated conference records. KSC, ranked ninth in New England (Div.III) is 7-4-1 overall and 1-0-1 in the LEC, while the fifth ranked Panthers boast a 9-1 overall mark and 3-0 record in the conference.
Keene State will try to slow down a Plymouth State team that has won its last six games all by shutouts. "Right now they believe they're invincible and no one can score a goal against them," said KSC coach Ron Butcher. "Getting the first goal will be crucial."
Coming off a solid 4-1 non-conference win against Babson College, the Owls can't afford to fall back in the LEC race and lose a possible home field advantage in the conference tournament. "It's a statement game for us," Butcher added.
KSC must find a way to create scoring opportunities for forwards Casey Banks and Jason Lombardo. The duo leads a balanced Owl attack with seven and six goals respectively. They will try to get the ball by Brad Wilby who has been outstanding in goal for the Panthers this season with a 0.31 GAA and eight shutouts. "He's the glue of their team," said Butcher, who is also leery of dangerous midfielder Kyle Bowman and top scorer Felix Rosen (7-0-14), a freshman striker from Sweden.
"I told our guys that they have to win the battle in the trenches and they can't lose focus," Butcher said. "It's the top game in New England this week."
Keene State has won the last four meetings between the two teams.
The KSC women's team will also be in action against Plymouth State (2-1 LEC) at Panther Field (4 p.m.) on Saturday. Both teams bring a 7-3-1 record into the game, but the Owls have the better mark (2-0-1) in league play .
Led in scoring by Erin Lester (8-1-17) and Jennifer Ortisi (6-1-13), KSC is undefeated in its last four games and has posted three straight shutouts. The Panthers, who have dropped their last two games, is led in scoring by Krista Pettrey (5-3-13).