DANBURY, Conn. - After 110 minutes of action that saw a goal on each side, top-seeded Western Connecticut State outlasted fourth-seeded Keene State men's soccer in a penalty shootout, as the Colonials topped the Owls 4-3 on Wednesday evening at the Westside Athletic Complex in Little East Conference (LEC) semifinal play.
- Keene State: 7-5-5
- Western Connecticut State: 13-6-1
How It Happened
In the five-round one-on-one decision maker, WestConn won the opportunity to go first. Western Connecticut's net minder Daniel Szabo opened up with a conversion, before senior Promise Kpee also went high to even the shootout at 1-1.
Robert Della Penna went successfully low and to the left in the second round for the Colonials, but attempt by the Owls' senior Conor Leahy was stopped by the out-stretched right hand of Szabo and WestConn took an early advantage.
WCSU Shane Bierfeldt's attempt narrowly went over the crossbar while senior William Salta evened things back up for the Owls with his blast high and to his right.
Mikey Sciortino and sophomore Luck Ndahigwa matched successful attempt in the fourth round to make it three apiece.
Colonials' senior midfielder Nick Kyriakidi went high and to the right to give his club a 4-3 advantage in the final round. Sophomore Donovan Harris had one more chance for to send the shootout into a second round for Keene State, but his right-footer went wide of the left goal post.
Before the shootout, Ndahigwa put KSC up 1-0 when he deposited a deflected shot by Kpee at the 55:23 mark. Kpee's initial shot was the Owls' first goal-scoring attempt of the night. Chauncey Allers evened the score with his 14th marker of the season with 13:13 remaining in regulation. He received a 35-yard pass from Bierfeld from midfield and blasted the ball in the right back corner of the goal.
WestConn would rattle off three more quality attempts in the final 5:47, but all went slightly wide of the goal mouth.
The Colonials had three solid chances in the first half beginning in the ninth minute when Kyriakidis sent a free kick all the way across the box, past several Keene State defenders and the left book of teammate Della Penna .At the 28:21 mark, Della Penna had another chance but could not get a solid shot off at the wide open goal.
Kpee had the Owls' best opportunity in the first stanza. With 26 minutes remaining he worked his way open on the right side of the box, but lost control of the ball before a valid attempt. Twenty-five seconds later Kyriakidis's shot sailed over the crossbar for WestConn and both teams settled for a scoreless tie heading into the recess.
Inside the Box
- Western Connecticut State edged Keene State in shots 20-7 and had five corner kicks to the Owls' four. Kpee and senior Riley Steele had two shots each for Keene State.
- In goal, Smith made seven stops for the Owls in regulation and a pair of extra periods, while Luca DiCarlo did not have to make a save in his 45 minutes of work in the first half before yielding to Szabo after the break. Szabo finished with a pair of saves over 75 minutes.
- Since the conference declared a champion, Keene State College has made 15 appearances and has won six titles, the last in 2010. WestConn has made five showings and won the crown in 2003 and 2005. UMass Boston is a three-time defending champion.
- Keene State sees their season come to a close, after their first trip to the postseason since 2014.
- Western Connecticut State will advance to the LEC title game against Rhode Island College on November 4th at a time to be determind.
(Portions of this release courtesy of Western Connecticut State)