Back to Back! Women's Soccer Outlasts UMass Boston In PK Shootout to Claim LEC Championship!

Back to Back!  Women's Soccer Outlasts UMass Boston In PK Shootout to Claim LEC Championship!

BOSTON, Mass.--Two days after they knocked off one of the Little East Conference's regular season champions, the Keene State College women's soccer team took out the other, as the Owls won their second consecutive Little East Conference tournament championship with a 4-3 penalty shootout win over UMass Boston after a 1-1, double-overtime tie on Saturday.

The Owls, who are now 13-8-2, advance to the NCAA tournament for the second straight year and fourth time in school history.  KSC will find out who and where they will be playing when selections are announced on Monday.  UMass Boston falls to 11-5-5.

UMass Boston had broken open a scoreless game in the 50th minute when Krista Ledin, the LEC's leading scorer, headed home a free kick from Marina Kelly.

Ledin began the shootout by making converting her penalty, while Katie Silegy did the same for the Owls.  Ericka Garufi was next for the Beacons, and her shot ricocheted off the right post and out.  Beverly Cole, who was also successful in Thursday's semifinal shootout win over Western Connecticut State, scored her penalty for a 2-1 KSC lead.

The Beacons' next shooter, Natasha Stibor, fired her attempt over the crossbar, but Kali Santino had her shot saved by Perkins to keep the shootout at 2-1.  Hannah Petersen and Morgan Kathan traded successful penalties for a 3-2 KSC lead, and after Sam Bendick converted hers, KSC's Maggie Grayson stepped up on the final attempt and beat Perkins to give the Owls the championship.

Keene State was seven minutes away from defeat but were saved by leading scorer Taylor Farland in the 83rd minute.  Jennifer Wilson's shot rattled the cross bar but the rebound fell to Farland, who made no mistake with her 12th goal of the year.  

Neither team could find a winner in the remainder of regulation, and so for the second straight game, the Owls went to overtime.  KSC dominated the extra periods, as Farland planted a header wide from a Wilson corner, and in the second overtime, Beverly Cole forced UMB keeper Dani Perkins into a double-save in the 104th minute.

Ledin shot wide as time expired in the second overtime, and the game headed to a shootout, the first in an LEC women's soccer title game since 2011, when Eastern Connecticut State had beaten Keene State.

"It's an unbelievable feeling," said head coach Denise Lyons.  "To go through double-overtime and penalties again, and to come through that is amazing.  I give all the credit to the players, they held their nerve and we're thrilled to be going back to the NCAA tournament."

Senior Kate Piersiak was named the Tournament's Most Outstanding Player, marshalling a defense that allowed two goals in 310 minutes of tournament action.  KSC added to their haul of LEC tournament titles with the win, joining the 2002, 2004, and 2013 squads.