MANSFIELD, Conn. - The Keene State College field hockey team scored three times in just over six minutes in the first half and eventually held off Eastern Connecticut State University 5-3 in LEC action on Saturday afternoon at the Mansfield Complex.
- Keene State: 14-4, 10-1 LEC
- Eastern Connecticut: 4-9, 4-7 LEC
How It Happened
Dynamic duo Nina Bruno and Kayla Klein accounted for all five goals and three assists as the Owls ensured no worse than a second place finish in the Little East Conference regular season. Keene State generated chances right away, forcing three saves from ECSU goalie Keira Integlia in the first ten minutes, and kept the pressure on before finding the back of the cage in the 12th minute when Mia Brickley centered a ball for Bruno. That was just the start of a three goal binge in 6:08, as the Owls added two more in 39 seconds a short time later. In the 17th minute, Courtney Jessup found Klein for a 2-0 advantage, which grew to 3-0 when Bruno assisted on Klein's tally at the 17:09 mark. Eastern Connecticut made it a game over the remainder of the half, as Sydney Collentine scored in the 20th minute to make it 3-1. Despite the Owls firing six shots over the final 15 minutes, Integlia made four stops, and the Warriors were on the board again through Stephanie Hogan after capitalizing on a penalty corner with no time remaining in the half. KSC outshot the Warriors 14-4, but carried just a 3-2 lead into halftime.
The Owls gained some breathing room quickly in the second half. Just over three minutes in, Bruno found Klein for the second time on the day as KSC led 4-2 at the 38:27 mark. Keene State continued to carry the play over the ensuing ten minutes, but Eastern Connecticut was again opportunistic and drew within one when Morgan Sanson redirected a shot into the cage in the 53rd minute. Keene State weathered a trio of penalty corners, including blocking a shot from Hogan, over the next few minutes to keep the lead. The Owls put the game away with a marker in the final ten minutes. Erica Stauffer's shot was directed in by Klein, who completed her fourth hat trick of the season, to give KSC a 5-3 advantage at 61:05.
- KSC's win, coupled with Castleton University's 3-1 home loss to the University of Southern Maine, moves the Owls into a first place tie with the Spartans at 10-1. Keene State and Castleton will play a game to decide first place next Saturday, October 27 at 1:30 pm in Keene.
- The Owls outshot ECSU 23-6 (16-5 on goal) and had a 9-6 edge in penalty corners.
- KSC has won 20 of 22 all-time meetings.
- Bruno and Klein, both of whom continue to move up the top ten in single-season goals and points, have combined for 48 goals and nine assists (105 points) on the season.
- Keene State will visit Smith College in their final non-conference regular season game on Wednesday, October 24 at 6:30 pm.
- Eastern Connecticut travels to Regis College (Mass.) on Thursday, October 25 for a 4:30 pm start.