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Keene State Clinches Top Seed In Women's Soccer Championship

Keene State Clinches Top Seed In Women's Soccer Championship

DANBURY, Conn. -  The weather conditions might not have been ideal, but in the end, the Keene State College women's soccer team accomplished its goal.  On a night when driving rain left several inches of standing water on the turf, the Owls and Western Connecticut State University battled to a 1-1 double-overtime draw enabling the visitors to clinch the top seed in the upcoming Little East women's soccer championship for the first time since 2004.

"The conditions left alot to be desired, but somehow we found a way to battle back and tie the game," said Keene State Coach Denise Lyons.  "The fact that we were able to clinch at least a share of the regualr season conference title after playing in such a downpour makes it even sweeter."

The Owls need just one point against Southern Maine next weekend to capture the regular season title outright. UMass Boston and Eastern Connecticut can still earn a share of the regular season title with a win coupled with a Keene State loss. The Owls own the tie-breaker with both squads after defeating the Beacons (4-0) and Warriors (2-1 OT) earlier this season.  

With a light rain falling at game-time, both teams were conservative on offense with Keene State (11-5-2, 5-0-1 LEC) firing the game's first shot after nearly 10 minutes had elapsed from the clock, and WestConn (8-9-1, 3-2-1) taking its first shot well after the 20 minute mark. After 45 minutes of play, the score remained 0-0.

As the second half began, the intensity of play increased on both sides, but so did the intensity of the rain.  At the 62:16 mark, WestConn senior Domonique Pascascio (Hamden, Conn.) lofted a pass from 30 yards out on the right side of the field across the box.  Freshman Cecelia Dias (Shelton, Conn.) cut between two Owls' defenders and rifled a shot into the left corner of the goal for a 1-0 Colonials advantage. 

As the skies opened and field conditions deteriorated, WestConn's lead appeared safe with each pass only traveling a few feet rather than several yards.  With just over two minutes remaining in the game however, Keene State's Tara Nathan (Bethel, Conn.) took advantage of the hosts defense's inability to clear the ball.  As the ball sat half-submerged in standing water, Nathan beat two Colonials' defenders to the ball and lifted a shot just past the outstretched arms of WestConn goaltender Molly Miller (Middlebury, Conn.) to tie the score and force overtime.

In the overtime periods the field conditions limited the ability of either team to attack successfully, with the Colonials managing to fire two shots and Keene State only one.  After 20 minutes of extra play, both squads were forced to settle for a 1-1 tie.

For the game, Keene State held a slight 15-13 advantage in shots, while WestConn's margin in corner kicks was 11-2. Molly Miller finished with 8 saves in goal for WestConn, while Megan Dempsey (East Weymouth, Mass.) made seven saves for Keene State.

The Owls return to action at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 28, when Keene State travels to Bridgewater State.