Game Recap Courtesy of Keene State Sports Information
KEENE, N.H. - Little East Conference Tournament Most Outstanding Player Nina Bruno netted her second hat-trick in three games, leading the Keene State College field hockey team to a 9-0 win over Westfield State University in the 2017 LEC Championship game at Owl Athletic Complex on Saturday.
- Keene State: 14-8
- Westfield State: 10-10
How it Happened
Bruno, who earned Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament honors after scoring eight goals over Keene State's three tournament games, had her fourth hat-trick of the season. Casi Smith, Erica Stauffer, Kayla Klein, Erica Chareth, Kelsey Roberts, and Kendal Brown each had one. Julia Babbitt had a hat-trick's worth of assists, with Stauffer, Jordyn Martin, Brittany Johnson, and Courtney Jessup each contributing a helper. In all, 11 different Owls recorded at least one points.
Rachel Loseby played the first 54:57 in net and made four saves. Jordan LaRaus made one stop in the final 15:03. Keene State held a whopping 25-9 lead in shots and a 7-2 edge in penalty corners.
Loseby had the game's first save, denying Rachel Bunce after just 64 seconds played, and the Owls were on the board with 6:17 of the game played. Following a corner, Stauffer slid a pass to Brown, who fired home the only goal the Owls would need for her fifth of the season.
It may have been the only goal they needed, but they would get a lot more; Roberts made it 2-0 from a Martin pass in the 20th minute, and Bruno scored her first of the game less than a minute before halftime to send Keene State into the break up 3-0. Keene State poured it on after halftime, as Bruno got another less than a minute after the restart, and completed the hat-trick in the 47th minute.
Casi Smith made it 6-0 when Westfield State was whistled for a penalty stroke, and Smith converted to the upper left corner for the Owls' first penalty stroke of the season. Klein, Chareth, and Stauffer all added goals in the final 20 minutes for the final margin of victory.
With the win, the Owls receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament for the fifth straight year and 12th time in school history. The field will be announced late on Sunday evening.
- The 9-0 win was the biggest margin of victory in the championship game in Little East Conference history. The record was previously set last year, in Keene State's 5-0 win over Southern Maine in the 2016 title game.
- The nine goals were also the most scored in a tournament game in LEC history. The Owls also held the previous mark of seven, done twice in quarterfinal wins over Worcester State in 2007 and Southern Maine in 2011.
- Keene State has won five straight titles for the second time in school history, as the Owls were also champions every year from 2004-2008.
- Bruno was the second KSC freshman to win tournament MOP honors, joining Karen Robinson, who did it in 2006.
- Keene State will wait to see who and where it will play when the NCAA Division III Championship field is released late on Sunday evening.
- Westfield State, which had reached the title game for the first time since 2005, sees the season end.