LEC M.-SOC: Owls Blank RIC 3-0;Advance to Finals
'KEENE, N.H. 11/2/06 - The second seeded Keene State men's soccer team advanced to the finals of the Little East Conference tournament championship game with a 3-1 victory over third seed Rhode Island College in a semifinal game played at Owl Athletic Complex on Thursday.
Jeremy Kelsey (Gilford, N.H.). Alex Horne (Harvard, Mass.) and Scott Cluff (Kingston, Mass.) netted goals for the Owls who will making their sixth trip to the finals. KSC won the championship in 1999, 2001, 2004 and 2004.
"We played well enough to advance," said KSC Coach Ron Butcher. "The guys stepped it up and did what they had to do."
KSC will face rival Plymouth State in the title on Saturday (12 p.m.) in Plymouth. The top seeded Panthers edged fourth seed UMass-Boston 2-1 in a semifinal game decided by penalty kicks. Felix Rosen tied the game with 2:21 to play in regulation. PSC outscored UMB 4-2 in penalty kicks.
Keene State has met the Panthers twice in the finals. The Owls prevailed both times, in 1999 (1-0, OT) and in 2001 (5-0).
After missing several scoring opportunities, the Owls finally cashed in at the 19:33 mark. Cluff found an uncovered Kelsey streaking down the right side. The junior midfielder buried a shot into the far corner for his fifth goal of the season.
Alex Horne (Harvard, Mass.) gave KSC a two goal lead at the 35:26 mark when he settled a ball on the right side and fired a left-footed bullet past RIC goalie Jadon Neves (Warren, R.I.) for his team-leading 10th goal of the year.
"We haven't played up to our potential all season," said Horne. "When you play in what possibly could be your last game, you go out with all you got likes there's no tomorrow."
Cluff gave the Owls a 3-0 lead early in the second half when he finished off a cross from Pelse Mesa (Manchester, N.H.). "We knew we had to get this game," said Cluff. "Everyone wanted to come out and play their hearts out for the seniors."
Cal Mintz had four saves to notch his four shutout of the season for the Owls (13-5-1). Neves stopped five shots for RIC (12-7).