KEENE, N.H.--The Little East Conference tournament begins on October 30 at 6:30 p.m. as the Keene State College field hockey team seeks an unprecedented sixth successive LEC tournament title.
The Owls come in with a 14-6 overall record, and a 10-2 mark in LEC play. KSC is the No. 2 seed in this tournament, having finished second following a wild 5-4, double-overtime loss to Castleton University on Saturday, October 27. The Bears are 9-8, with a 6-6 mark in LEC play, and are seeded seventh in the tournament. While KSC is going for a sixth straight LEC title and 14th overall, the Bears have never won one, though they did reach the final in 2010, when they lost to UMass Dartmouth.
KSC head coach Amy Watson is in her 28th season on the KSC bench, and has led the Owls to titles in 1998, 1999, 2004-08, 2011, and 2013-17. KSC was also the tournament finalist in 2000, 2003, 2009, and 2012. Tia Rogers is in her fifth season guiding the Bears, and has led them to winning seasons in two of the last three years.
The Keene State offense is led by sensational sophomores Nina Bruno and Kayla Klein. Bruno tops the LEC with 27 goals and seven points for 61 points, the third highest single season total in school history. Klein is right on her heels, having scored 24 goals and set up three more for 51 points, which is currently the seventh best single season mark. Other threats for KSC include senior Julia Babbitt (10-7-27), junior Ally McCall (3-12-18), and senior Erica Stauffer (4-7-15). On defense, junior Hailey Beaupre backstops the Owls with seven defensive saves, while sophomore goalie Rachel Loseby has started every game with a 2.08 goals against average and a .721 save percentage.
Bridgewater State is led by senior midfielder Samantha Hayes, who has 23 goals and five assists for 51 points. Classmate Julianne Kilduff (8-3-19), sophomore Emma Daly (5-2-12), senior Alexandra Zoebisch (5-2-12), and sophomore Olivia Ahlman (5-0-10) are also possibilities in front of the cage. Grad student Katherine McKenna has a team high three defensive saves, while senior Allison Chappell has seen the majority of time in goal with a 2.23 goals against average and a .785 save percentage.
The Earlier Matchup
The goals came fast and furious in a 7-3 KSC win over Bridgewater State on October 9. Bridgewater led 2-1 after 12 minutes, but the Owls scored the next three goals and never looked back. Bruno finished with a single game school record tying five goals in the game.
The Rest of the Tournament
The other quarterfinals see No. 1 seed Castleton host No. 8 seed Eastern Connecticut State, No. 3 Southern Maine hosting No. 6 Fitchburg State, and No. 4 Worcester State host No. 5 Western Connecticut State. All quarterfinals will be on Tuesday, October 30. The quarterfinal winners will play in the semifinals at the highest remaining seed on Friday, November 2, and the championship will be on Saturday, November 3. The KSC/BSU winner will play the USM/FSU winner, while the CU/ECSU winner will play the WSU/WCSU winner in the semifinals. The bracket will not be re-seeded after any round.