Shand's goal gives Owls overtime win

Larson and Blair celebrate after scoring a goal with one second left in the first-half
Larson and Blair celebrate after scoring a goal with one second left in the first-half

KEENE, N.H. 10/18/09 - Freshman Shawn Shand's (Keene, N.H.) goal  with 2:06 remaining in the second overtime lifted the Keene State College men's soccer team to a 2-1 non-conference victory over Western New England College at Owl Athletic Complex on Sunday.

The go-ahead goal came off a corner kick after WNEC senior goalie Kyle Bak (Cumberland, R.I.) deflected a hard drive by freshman Joe Senecal (Manchuag, Mass.) just over the crossbar.

Shand was at the right place at the right time to knock in the game-winner.  Sitting at the left corner of the net following a corner kick by junior Luke Sisco (Pine Plains, N.Y.), Shand took the ball away from a WNEC defender and put it into the net.  "I was just cherry-picking. That what a good striker does," said Shand about his seventh goal of the season. "The ball popped out and I just tucked it in."

The win was the second in two days for Keene State (9-6), who defeated UMass-Boston 1-0 on Saturday. "We're a little tired but that has nothing to do with playing the game," said Shand. "We have to go out and play 110-percent every single time we go out on the field."

The Owls spent a good portion of the first half in their own end before scoring in the final second of play on their first shot on goal.  Sophomore Cam Blair (Keene, N.H.) went around the corner and fed a crossing ball to sophomore Alex Larson (Williamsport, Pa.) who tapped the ball into the net as the horn went off. "I didn't know we had one second left," said Blair.  "I just looked up and saw the ball trickle into the net and ran over to Alex (Larson) and gave him a big hug."

"Cam made desperation cross and I was able to get my toe on it," said Larson about his first goal of the season.  "I knew it was getting close to the end of the half, so it felt good when it went in." 

KSC kept the Golden Bears off the board in the first half due in large part to goalie Peter Kersker (Ipswich, Mass.). The senior stopped a couple of shots off the foot of senior Jason Sabia (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) and later came out of the net and denied a break-away attempt by senior Nick Zarka (Farmington, Conn.) with 3:10 to play.    

"The first half belong to Western New England, we could have been down four or five nothing , but Kersker and the back four kept us in the game," said KSC Coach Ron Butcher.  "After halftime, we changed our style of play and created some good chances.  "It's a game I don't think anybody expected us to win, but we found a way to get the job done."

The Golden Bears got the equalizer at the 85:59 mark of the second half when junior Justin Martins (Ludlow, Mass.) headed home a corner kick from senior David Fitzpatrick. 

Sophomore Shawn Fitzpatrick (Burnt Hills, N.Y.) had a chance to get the game-winner for WNEC in the closing seconds of regulation, but his drive just went wide of the right post. The Golden Bears were awarded a corner kick as the seconds went down, but couldn't capitalize.

Kersker and Bak each finished the game with six saves.  The Golden Bears (10-5-2) outshot the Owls 20-15 and had an 11-4 advantage in corner kicks.

Both team return to action on Wednesday.  Keene State is at Framingham State and Western New England hosts Regis College.