NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA Junior defender Victoria Dolce (Jamestown, RI/North Kingstown HS)scored the only goal of the game off a penalty corner with just over 20 minutes remaining and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's field hockey team held on to defeat visiting Keene State, 1-0, in the championship match of the Little East Conference Tournament at Cressy Field Sunday.
Dolce batted home a loose ball after initiating the penalty corner. Her pass went to senior midfielder Jenna Miedzionoski (Beverly, MA/Hamilton-Wenham Regional HS), who fed senior defender Taryn Cardiel (Moorpark, CA/Moorpark HS) for a hard shot that bounced off a few players in front of the net. Dolce jumped on the loose ball and tipped it in.
The defensive efficiency of both teams limited the offensive chances. In the second half, UMass Dartmouth junior goalkeeper Lauren O'Brien (Rochester, MA/Old Rochester Regional HS) stopped Owl freshman forward Lyndsie Rabenius (North Hampton, NH/Winnacunnet HS) from point-blank range. Moments later, the Corsairs were awarded a penalty stroke, and freshman backup goalkeeper Chloe Audesse (Goffstown, NH/Goffstown HS) came off the bench to face the shot. UMD freshman defender Ali Hadley (Chelmsford, MA/Chelmsford HS) fired a low, hard shot, but Audesse kicked it out, then left in favor of starting goalkeeper Caitlin Davino-Draper (So. Hanover, MA/Hanover HS).
Dolce, who scored twice in Saturday's semi-final against Plymouth State, including the game-winner, was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
"Defense wins championships, and I'm proud of our defense, (senior defender) Taryn (Cardiel, Moorpark, CA/Moorpark HS), Tori (Dolce) and (junior defender) Devin (Herlihy, Stratham, NH/Exeter HS) make up an amazing combination in the back," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Nicole Castonguay. "You definitely had the feeling that it was going to be a one-goal game. When we scored, I knew it would be tough for them to score against us. I thought we were lucky to get out of the first half at 0-0. We were able to assess what was going on, Lauren was up for the challenge today in goal, and we have enough depth that one game someone will be in the midfield and another game in the back. It helps to be versatile. In addition, our seniors really stepped up today."
The Corsairs outshot the Owls, 12-6. O'Brien made three saves for UMass Dartmouth, while Davino-Draper made five stops and Audesse one for KSC.
UMD improved to 17-5 with the victory, while Keene State dropped to 15-8 with the defeat. UMass Dartmouth earned the Little East Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships.
UMASS DARTMOUTH FIELD HOCKEY