CORTLAND, N.Y.--No. 16 Cortland State scored four times in the final 15 minutes to thwart an upset bid from Keene State College in a 4-1 win in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament at the Cortland Stadium Complex on Wednesday afternoon.
- Keene State: 14-9
- SUNY Cortland: 18-3
How it Happened
Sophomore Jordan LaRaus made nine saves, keeping the Red Dragons at bay repeatedly during the first half. Kendal Brown had three defensive saves to also keep Cortland off the board. LaRaus made a triple stop on Megan O'Brien, Jessica Welch, and Anna Branch, while at the other end, KSC's Nina Bruno was stopped by Cortland's Kaileyanne Reinoehl in the 12th minute.
Brown's second defensive save of the night kept Meg Redmond from scoring with less than five minutes left in the second half. The Owls earned a corner in the dying seconds of the second half, but Brown's shot was saved by Reinoehl as time expired and the teams went into the break scoreless.
LaRaus made another save, this one on Liz Athing, with just 45 seconds played in the second half, while Julia Babbitt tested Reinoehl in the 40th minute. Keene State was awarded a penalty corner in the 43rd minute, and Ally McCall played it in to Brown, whose shot from the circle was saved, but the rebound popped out to Casi Smith, who deposited it past Reinoehl for her fourth goal of the season to give the Owls the lead.
The goal spurred the Red Dragons into action, but they could not find away past LaRaus and Brown. LaRaus denied Welsh in the 46th minute, and Brown had her third defensive save on Branch's shot a minute later.
Cortland did tie the game in the 55th minute, with a goal by Welsh, who blasted it in from the top of the circle, and took the lead three minutes later when Meg O'Brien scored her ninth of the year. Keene State called timeout with 12 minutes to go, but following the restart, Cortland added a third when Athing scored.
The Owls launched a barrage of shots on the Cortland cage, as Bruno and McCall forced Reinoehl into saves, while Babbitt was denied on back-to-back attempts with five minutes to go. Cortland netted a fourth goal when Jess Gibaldi scored with five minutes left.
- The Owls were looking for their first road win in the NCAA tournament. This was the first time the Owls opened the NCAA tournament on the road since the 2008 edition, when the Owls traveled to Springfield College.
- Seniors Casi Smith, Kendal Brown, and Brittany Johnson played in their final game in an Owl uniform. The trio went a combined 71-26 (.732) with four LEC tournament titles and four trips to the NCAA tournament, advancing to the second round twice.
- Cortland held a slim 23-18 edge in shots, while the Owls earned 11 corners to the Red Dragons' nine.
- The Owls, who were appearing the NCAA tournament for the fifth year in a row and 12th time in program history, see their season end.
- The Red Dragons will head to No. 3 The College of New Jersey for second round contest on Saturday.