SALEM, Mass. - Nina Bruno and Ellie Hunkins scored 28 seconds apart with just under five minutes to go as the Keene State College field hockey team beat Salem State University 5-3 in Little East action at a rainy Alumni Field on Wednesday afternoon.
- Keene State: 8-5, 6-1 LEC
- Salem State: 7-5, 3-4 LEC
How It Happened
In addition to the late tallies, Bruno and Hunkins each scored another goal in the contest, with the former taking nine shots (landing six on goal) and adding an assist. Kayla Klein also had a goal and a helper for the Owls, who are 31-2 all-time vs. Salem State.
KSC never trailed in the contest despite the Vikings, who were thoroughly outshot, answering of the first three Owl goals. Keene State pressured right away in the opening quarter, but SSU goalie Kelli McCarthy made five saves in the opening 11:17 while also getting help from the post on a Bruno shot. The Owls broke through shortly thereafter, as Klein scored her 11th goal of the season off a feed from Ally McCall that originated from a corner in the 13th minute. Salem State's Casie Curtin answered less than two minutes later to tie the game at one through one quarter. The offenses slowed in the second frame, with neither team registering a shot on goal until Bruno was stopped by McCarthy at the 27:34 mark. McCall also had a bid that was stopped with 55 seconds left, but Bruno was there to put home the rebound and put the Owls, who had a 13-4 shots edge, up 2-1 at halftime.
It remained back and forth on the scoreboard for the majority of the second half, as the home team tied the game not even five minutes in when Curtin fed Allison Couillard. The Vikings nearly took the lead, but a defensive save from Taylor Robison in the 39th minute kept out another try from Couillard. KSC was back ahead less than two minutes later, as Bruno's pass to Hunkins got past McCarthy to make it 3-2, which it remained after 45 minutes. The Owls had a chance for insurance, with Kelsey Roberts taking a pair of shots within nine seconds early in the fourth, but McCarthy made two more of her 12 saves to keep it a one-goal game, and that proved to be key just moments later. Couillard scored again in the 48th minute to force another tie (3-3), and SSU's Audrey Dalton hit the post at 49:26 as the Vikings bid for their first lead of the day.
That proved to be the home team's last shot, and Keene State pulled away late, scoring twice in a 28 second span. Bruno scored first to make it 4-3 at 55:30, ensuring her sixth multi-goal game of the season, and Hunkins tacked on another from Klein at the 55:58 mark.
Jordan LaRaus (1-0) got her first start of the season and made one save for KSC, while Salem State's McCarthy saved 12 of 17 shots, but fell to 7-5.
- The Owls had a 23-8 edge in shots and 12 of 14 penalty corners in the game.
- Keene State is a half game out of first place in the conference, trailing Worcester State (6-0), who they play on October 23 in Keene.
- Bruno now leads the LEC in goals (15), while McCall and Roberts pace the league in assists with 13 and nine, respectively. McCall entered the game third nationally in assists per game, while Bruno was 19th in goals per game.
- Keene State returns home to host conference opponent Bridgewater State University on Saturday, October 12. Start time is scheduled for 11:00 am.
- Salem State entertains UMass-Dartmouth on the same day at 12:00 pm.