By Jon Wilson '22 / Sports Information Staff
MANSFIELD, Conn. -- Five different players netted goals for the Keene State College Owls as they took down the Eastern Connecticut State University field hockey team, 5-0, in Little East Conference action Saturday morning at Rick McCarthy Field.
The Warriors fell to 2-6 (2-2 LEC) while defending LEC playoff champion Keene State upped its record to 6-4 and maintained a share of the LEC lead with Western Connecticut, both with perfect 4-0 conference marks. Western blanked the University of Southern Maine Saturday, 2-0, for its fourth straight shutout.
The Owls, winners of six consecutive Little East Conference championships, and the pre-season favorites to grab a seventh straight title, put pressure on Eastern's back line from start to finish. The Warriors were outshot 18 to 5, and of the 18 Keene State shots, 16 of them were on target. The Owls also held an 11-6 edge in penalty corners.
Keene State's continued pressure saw it grab its first goal with 4:03 to play in the first quarter when Kayla Klein potted her ninth goal of the season when she sent a centering pass from Kelsey Roberts inside the left post. Eastern kept the margin at one goal for 11 minutes, but the Owls continued to wear down the young Warriors defense, adding two more goals before halftime in a span of less than six minutes, and two more in the third. Roberts, a senior forward, had a goal (third on the season) and added two assists – her conference-tying seven and eighth of the season). Returning junior All-America forward Nina Bruno also grabbed her conference-leading tenth goal of the season to make it 3-0 late in the first half.
Bruno and Klein have combined for 19 of their team's 30 goals this season.
The Warriors best chance to score came on a duo of penalty corners with eight minutes to play in the third quarter. Hogan saw her shot parried wide, and senior forward Khiara Valentine's (Morristown, NJ) shot was just on the wrong side of the goal post. Valentine broke away moments later for a 1v1 with Loseby, but couldn't connect.
Eastern junior goalkeeper Keira Integlia (Branford) made 11 saves – two shy of her season average -- while Loseby needed only two saves for her fourth shutout in ten starts.
Eastern visits the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Tuesday at 7 p.m. in a conference match.