'GORHAM, Maine - Junior John Harke (Leeds, Mass.) netted a pair of goals, including the game-winner, to lift the visiting Keene State College Owls to a 3-1 Little East Conference win over the University of Southern Maine Huskies on Sunday afternoon.
Triumphant in five consecutive matches, Keene State improved to 12-5-1 overall and 4-1-1 in the conference, while Southern Maine slipped to 7-8-2 and 3-3. The teams return to action on Wednesday, when the Huskies travel to Salem State, while the Owls will visit Ramapo (New Jersey).
Harke's game-winning goal, his sixth of the season, came on a sharp set up in the 75th minute of play. Junior Joey Amaio (Wethersfield, Conn.) feathered a pass to a cutting Jason Lombardo (Woburn, Mass.) who raced to the end line, before arcing a short cross into the area. Harke caught the ball inside the six-yard box and volleyed it into the net.
The Owls added an insurance goal in the 84th minute, when junior Casey Banks (Westborough, Mass.) headed a cross from Lombardo inside the far post.
Banks had helped give Keene State a 1-0 lead just 3:53 into the contest. Collecting a ball inside the Southern Maine half, Banks bounced a ball through the area, where the on-rushing Harke directed it past freshman keeper Kane DiBenedetto (Halcott, N.Y.).
Southern Maine netted the equalizer in the 34th minute of play. Senior Ian Doumas (Raymond, N.H.) collected a shallow cross from junior Andy Budelman (Rochester, N.H.), and fired a shot past KSC goalie Brandon Beck (Johnstown, N.Y. ).
DiBenedetto and Beck each finished the contest with six saves.
"Like yesterday, it was a very physical game and we're fortunate to come away with two big conference wins this weekend," said KSC coach Ron Butcher. "If we win next week against UMass-Dartmouth we'll be in a position to finish either first or second in the conference."
(Courtesy USM Sports Information)