KEENE, N.H. 4/28/12 – Junior Lauren Brown (Agawam, Mass.) and Eliza Witherbee (Newburyport, Mass.) scored three goals apiece, and sophomore goaltender Erin Taylor (Brewster, N.Y.) made 15 saves, as the Keene State College women's lacrosse team upended Western Conn. State 13-5, to clinch the number two seed in next week's conference championship tournament.
"WestConn is a solid team so this was a great test for us before the tournament," said KSC head coach Katie Arsenault. "They lost to Plymouth and Eastern by very close scores, so we were happy with the result.
The last regular-season home contest for the Owls, also marked senior day for the program's senior class of Sammi Benson (Hampstead, N.H), Sarah Valacer (Townsend, Mass.) and Caitlyn Corace (Mahopac, N.Y.). "This isn't the loudest senior class I have ever coached," said Arsenault. "But after we graduated that many people last year, and have such a young team this year our 13-3 record is a reflection of how they have been great leaders this season."
WestConn's goalie Karli Portnoy (Sea Cliff, N.Y.) also had a stellar game in between the pipes, stopping 20 KSC shots in the losing effort. "She has been on fire lately for them," said Arsenault of the Colonial netminder. "We knew we would have to be at our best to beat her."
Corace got the party started on senior day, scoring just over a minute into the game on a pass from junior midfielder Nicole Curry (Hampstead, N.H.). A few seconds later, junior Lauren Brown (Agawam, Mass.) scored at the 28:19 mark to give the Owls an early 2-0 lead.
At the 25 minute mark, WestConn junior Nicole Perrone (Brookfield, Conn.) had the first quality scoring chance for the Colonials in the game. WCSU goalie Karli Portnoy (Sea Cliff, N.Y.) threw a long pass to clear the ball out of their own zone, and Perrone streaked into the crease, but KSC sophomore goalie Erin Taylor (Brewster, N.Y.), made one of her 10, first-half saves.
The Owls would go up 6-0 with 8:26 remaining in the first half, as freshman midfielder Christa Demovellan (Westwood, Mass.) made a nice pass to a cutting Brown for the largest advantage of the half.
WestConn got on the board with 3:09, as Perrone scored her 44th goal of the season to cut the lead to 6-1.
Out of the gate in the second half, WestConn seized the momentum, score three of the games next four goals, capped by a free position goal into an empty net from Colonial attacker Kelly Brennan (Hicksville, N.Y.) with 16:28 remaining.
After that it was all KSC, scoring outscoring the Colonials 6-1 down the homestretch, capped by a free position goal from Valacer, with three seconds remaining to send the Owl fans in an uproar, and give KSC the 13-5 victory.
KSC outshot the Colonials 41-27 on the game, and caused 16 WestConn turnovers.
No WestConn player tallied more than one goal, as Brennan was the leading point-getter with a goal and an assist.
Benson and Corace also netted two goals in the winning effort for KSC.
The Owls will earn a first round bye in the upcoming Little East Conference Championship tournament. KSC will host the winner of Rhode Island College versus Eastern Conn. State on Friday at Owl Athletic Complex. The Anchorwomen and Warriors will face off on Tuesday, in Willimantic, Conn.