Stoessel Saves the Day; Owls Hold Off Corsairs 3-2 to Take #1 Seed in LEC Tournament
KEENE, N.H. 10/31/09 - Led by senior goaltender Vikki Stoessel's (Derry, N.H.) diving penalty stroke save with 28 seconds remaining, the Keene State College field hockey team defeated UMass.-Dartmouth 3-2 to grab the top seed in the Little East Conference Tournament on Saturday afternoon at Owl Athletic Complex. The Owls, who celebrated senior day with their final regular season home match, also "Played 4 the Cure" and raised over 1500 dollars for breast cancer research.
Before the start of the game the Owls honored their senior class of Tara Murphy (Derry, N.H.), Allie Franklin (Newington, Conn.), Erin Dallas (Marlow, N.H.), Carly Benning (Brewster, Mass.), Vikki Stoessel and captain Lindy Caslin (Bennington, Vermont).
Benning tallied two goals in the win, while sophomore midfielder Chelsea Blackmer (Boylston, Mass.) netted the first score of the game for the Owls.
"This was a very competitive and fierce game," said KSC head Coach Amy Watson. "They are a real good team and had a lot of chances but they just couldn't finish and we did."
Keene State hit the scoreboard first when Blackmer scored her fourth goal of the season just over five minutes into the game after Franklin was denied by Corsair goalie Seana Golden (Somerset, Mass.).
At the 13:05 mark Blackmer had her hands in on another goal, when she crossed the ball into the circle to a well covered Benning who redirected the pass right into the net for a 2-0 KSC lead.
With just under ten minutes left in the first period, UMass.-Dartmouth would answer on a rocket by freshman defender Taryn Cardiel (Moorpark, California) from senior midfielder Kylie Treat (Hampstead, N.H.) on a penalty corner to cut the Owls lead in half 2-1.
Five minutes later the Owls once again extended their lead to two goals on a goal by Benning, this time coming from sophomore forward Jacki Benson (Hampstead, N.H.) on a nice lead pass into the circle to make it 3-1 at halftime.
The second half was controlled by the Corsairs, outshooting the Owls 14-7 and adding the lone goal of the half. At the 51:29 mark, freshman forward Eleanor Taylor (Fairhaven, Mass.) took a pass from freshman forward Erica Allan (Amherst, Mass.) from inside the circle to beat an outstretched Stoessel to slice the Owl lead to 3-2.
The Corsairs continued to pressure, as the Owls were desperately trying to clear the ball out of their zone with less than a minute to play. UMass.-Dartmouth forward Stephanie Kinchla (Falmouth, Mass.) was awarded a penalty stroke with 28 seconds remaining in the game after she broke in alone and was fouled by the Keene State defense.
"When someone is awarded a penalty stroke they are supposed to score," said Watson. "The way it is set up it is very hard to stop it."
But Stoessel was up to the task, diving to the top left corner of the goal to set aside the shot and run the clock out for a thrilling 3-2 KSC victory.
"We practice the penalty stroke almost every day," said Stoessel. "It was honestly the most intense moment of my entire life but I just focused on the ball and made the big save."
Stoessel finished the game with 13 saves.
With the win the Owls finish the regular season at 16-4 and 9-2 in LEC play, with the loss drops UMass.-Dartmouth to 12-6 overall and 9-2 in conference contests.
The Owls will play in the quarterfinals of the LEC Tournament on Tuesday, November 3rd, as they will host Salem State College at 6 p.m. at Owl Athletic Complex.