March 26, 2013

Owls drop first game of the season; Fall to Bates 10-8

KEENE, N.H. 3/26/13 – The Keene State College men's lacrosse team suffered its first loss of the season, dropping a 10-8 non-conference game to Bates College in a battle of top regionals teams at Owl Athletic Complex on Tuesday afternoon.

The Owls (5-1), who came into the game ranked ninth in the most recent NEILA poll, shot themselves in the foot, giving the ball away, losing face-offs, and allowing the Bobcats (5-3), ranked fifth in New England,  too many man-up opportunities. 

"It was very basic.  We threw the ball away a bunch of times and we had too many penalties. You do those two things against a top team and you're going to lose," said KSC Coach Mark Theriault.   "We want to play teams like Bates because they're very competitive and one of the top teams in the NESCAC right now.  I'd rather play a game like this than beat a team by 10 goals. We need to execute at this level to compete with the top teams like Eastern Conn." 

Falling behind 1-0, Keene State took advantage of a couple of Bobcat turnovers to go up 3-1 on a pair of goals by senior J.T. Galloway (Simsbury, Conn.) sandwich around a goal by senior Ian Hart (Richmond, N.H.).

Sophomore Steven Hild (West Hartford, Conn.) scored in the final minute to tie the game (3-3) at the end of the first quarter.

Senior Dan Hines (Manchester, Mass.) and freshman Jack Allard (Ridgewood, N.J.) scored to give Bates a 5-3 lead. 

KSC got one goal back before the end of the second quarter when senior Taylor Wicke (Fairfield, Conn.) scored a man-up goal to make it a 5-4 game at the half.

Bates netted the first three goals of the third quarter, including man-up tallies 27 seconds apart by Allard and sophomore Nick Ford (Columbus, OH) to go up 8-4.

Galloway's third goal of the game cut the Bobcat's lead to 8-5 after three quarters.

The two teams trade goals at the start of the fourth quarter.  Wicke scored a man-up goal to make it 8-6 and Allard got his third goal of the game for Bates, pushing the lead back up to 9-6.

Trying to rally and get back into the game, the Owls trimmed the lead to 9-8 on a couple of goals by junior Tajh Russell (Agawam, Mass.).  Standing in front of the crease, Russell deflected a pass from Hart past Bobcat junior goalie Charlie Kazarian (Providence, R.I.) to make it 9-7 and a minute later he found the back of the net with a hard shot from 15-yard in front to make it a one-goal game.

KSC got the ball back on a face-off violation, but a shot by sophomore Kevin Carey (Mahopac, N.Y.) was blocked by the Bobcat defense.

Taking advantage of an Owl penalty, sophomore Jack Strain (Montclair, N.J.), who was set up in front, scored with 1:42 remaining to give Bates a 10-8 lead.

Galloway finished the game with three goals while Russell and Wicke each had a pair for Keene State.

Allard had three goals and Ford scored twice for Bates.

Freshman Alex Sharp (Winchester, Mass.) started in goal for KSC and made eight saves for the Owls.  Sophomore Jack Rogers (Acton, Mass.) played the final 22 minutes and stopped one shot. 

Kazarian finished the game with 14 saves for Bates.

Keene State outshot the Bobcats 44-29, but lost the battle in the face-off circle 12-7 and for ground balls 25-14.

Bates was 4-6 in man-up opportunities while KSC cashed in on two of its five man-up chances.

Keene State travels to Southern Maine for its first Little East game of the season on Saturday (3 p.m.).