KEENE, N.H. – The top-seeded Keene State College Owls field hockey team earned its fourth straight Little East Conference (LEC) Championship and an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament with a 5-0 win over the sixth-seed University of Southern Maine Huskies Saturday afternoon at the Owl Athletic Complex.
With the win, Keene State will head into the NCAA tourney with a 20-3 record. USM completes its 2016 season with a record of 9-13. Keene State’s 2016 title marks its 11th LEC title and its 10th appearance in the NCAA tournament. It was the first LEC title appearance for the Huskies since 2007.
Despite holding a strong 14-2 advantage in shots, Keene State went into the halftime break up just one goal thanks in part to an outstanding effort from USM senior goalkeeper Amanda Kasbohm, who made nine saves in the opening half. Keene State’s sophomore Julia Babbitt scored her 12th goal of the season in the 20th minute to put the Owls up 1-0.
KSC scored the first of four second-half goals early, doubling its advantage in the 37th when Sami Smith scored her league leading 34th goal of the season. Sophomore Erica Stauffer and junior Casi Smith scored back-to-back goal in the 46th and 48th minute to make it 4-0 before Smith scored her second goal of the game, notching her 35th goal of the season in the 58th minute to close out the scoring.
Kasbohm finished with a career-high 17 saves in the loss. KSC sophomore Gwendolyn Thayer made one save in the win.