KEENE, N.H. – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth field hockey team fell short to top-seeded Keene State College in the Litte East Conference Semi-Final Round on Thursday night at the Owls Athletic Complex, 3-2.
Senior Leddy Gallagher (Acton, Mass.) contributed on all three scores for Keene State to help advance the Owls to the Little East Conference Championship game. Keene State will host the third seed Plymouth State on Saturday, November 09 at 1p.m.
With just under five minutes to play and the score locked at 2-2, Gallagher penetrated the Corsair's defense and fired the ball on net. Teammate Marisa Lemoine (Berlin, N.H.) got her stick on the shot, causing the ball to trickle past UMass Dartmouth goalkeeper Lauren O'Brien (Rochester, Mass.) for the game-deciding score.
The Corsairs gained an early lead despite being limited to one shot on goal in the first half of play. Off a penalty corner, senior Tiffany Richard (Fitchburg, Mass.) pushed the ball to classmate Eleanor Taylor (Fairhaven, Mass.) a top the striking circle. Taylor unleashed a rip, which redirected off a stick of an Owl defender and into the goal for Taylor's 17th mark of the year.
UMass Dartmouth was able to hold their one goal advantage for the remainder of the first half, but the Owls were dominating the possession and aggressively attacking the net.
In the 50th minute, Gallagher displayed her speed and superb ball handling skills as she weaved around Corsair defenders for nearly three-fourths of the field without losing possession. The senior raced into the circle and blasted the equalizer past a sprawled O'Brien.
Seven minutes later, Gallagher took advantage of a UMass Dartmouth defensive error, entered the striking circle with no one guarding her and slapped in her second goal of the contest to give Keene State a 2-1 lead.
With 13 minutes remaining in regulation and the end of their season coming closer and closer with every tick of the game clock, the Corsairs desperately began to swarm offensively.
UMass Dartmouth took advantage of a penalty corner attempt in the 59th minute. Senior Victoria Dolce (Jamestown, R.I) found the back of the net from about 10 yards out to square the game at two apiece.
The Owls outshot the Corsairs by a whopping 25-4 and earned nine more penalty corners than UMass Dartmouth.
Keene State goalkeeper Meaghan Dwyer (Rutland, Mass.) faced only two shots on goal and earned her fifth win of the year. O'Brien, who was under duress the entire game, stopped 11 shots in the loss.
UMass Dartmouth closes out the year with an overall record of 14-7.