PAWTUCKET, R.I. – Top-seeded Worcester State University and second-seeded Keene State College will play for the Little East Conference (LEC) Field Hockey Championship Tournament title Saturday following their respective semifinal round wins on Thursday. The LEC final will get under way at noon at Worcester State.
No. 1 Worcester State 3, No. 4 Southern Maine 2 (OT) – Box Score
FOR THE RECORD: The Lancers improved to 17-4 for the season with the win, and will host the LEC championship final for the first time in program history Worcester State will make just its second LEC final appearance, with the first coming back in 2001. The Huskies' season comes to a close at 13-9.
HOW IT HAPPENED: The Lancers appeared to be well on their way to a victory, taking a 2-0 lead into the fourth quarter of a match that saw them out shoot Southern Maine 17-2 through three periods. That lead would disappear quickly in the closing minutes as Hayden Spencer got USM on the board with 4:50 remaining in the fourth and Dorina Siriois tied the match just 1:23 later. Worcester State was able to reestablish control in the extra period and Rachel Hopkins cashed in off a penalty corner midway through the period to give the Lancers the dramatic win.
Jess Hopkins had just one save on the three shots on goal she faced, but it was enough to earn the decision in goal for WSU. Lindsay Pych had 12 stops in goal for the Huskies, who were outshot 22-6 in the match.
No. 2 Keene State 4, No. 3 Western Connecticut 2 – Box Score
FOR THE RECORD: The Owls improved their overall record to 15-7 with the semifinal round victory and will attempt to claim the LEC tournament crown for a league-record seventh consecutive season. Keene State will be after its 15th conference title and is in the final for the 19th time in the tournament's 22-year history. The Colonials' season ends at 15-5 following their first semifinal appearance since 2014.
HOW IT HAPPENED: Western Connecticut got on the board first with a goal from Morgan Matthews midway through the first quarter, and the Owls answered with a pair of goals in the in the closing four minutes of the frame to take a 2-1 lead. Kelsey Roberts knotted the score at 11:06, and Ally McCall gave Keene State its first lead three minutes later.
The second half played out as the first, on the scoreboard. Carly Matasavage pulled the Colonials even just 4:13 into the third quarter before Nina Bruno put the Owls out in front for good with 55 seconds remaining in the period. Bruno then set up an insurance tally for Clara Hunkins five minutes into the fourth quarter.
Rachel Loseby had a pair of saves to earn the decision in goal for Keene State, while Neve Manion had 15 stops in taking the loss for WestConn.