BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – Freshman forward Nina Bruno (Agawam, Mass.) netted a hat trick to lead the visiting Keene State College field hockey team to a 5-2 victory over Bridgewater State University in a Little East Conference tilt on Saturday afternoon at Swenson Field.
The Owls improve to 8-5 on the season and 7-1 in the Little East, while the host Bears fall to 3-7 overall and 2-5 in conference play.
Bruno scored her first goal of the afternoon just 31 seconds into the game as she took advantage of an unforced BSU turnover. Bruno intercepted a crossing pass in the middle of the field, stick-handled around a defender and ripped a shot inside the right post.
Keene would score the next three goals in a span of three minutes and 28 seconds.
Bruno gave the Owls a 2-0 lead in the 21st minute as she outfought a defender to a loose ball and fired a shot from eight yards out into the left side of the net.
Junior midfielder Mia Brickley (Holderness, N.H.) found the back of the net from seven yards out off a centering pass from Julia Babbitt (Haddam, Conn.) to make it a three-goal game in the 23rd minute. The goal marked the first of the season for Brickley.
Seventy-three seconds later, sophomore midfielder Ally McCall (Watertown, Mass.) scored off a penalty corner to extend the Owls' lead to 4-0. McCall beat the keeper from just inside the circle with a shot inside the right post. Freshman defender McKenna Blean (Gilroy, Calif.) picked up the assist on the marker.
Bruno completed the hat track 2:40 into the second half after forcing a turnover in the Owls' offensive zone. Coming in from the left side, Bruno stick-handled by a defender and flicked a shot inside the far post for her team-leading 12th goal of the season.
BSU junior midfielder Samantha Hayes (Norwood, Mass.) broke up the shutout bid in the 43rd minute. Hayes corralled a loose ball 15 yards from the net, stick-handled in and wristed a shot inside the right post.
Hayes cut the deficit to 5-2 with her second goal of the game and team-leading ninth of the 2017 campaign in the 59th minute. Hayes intercepted an attempted clearing pass at the top of the circle and wristed a shot from 15 yards out into the right side of the net.
The Owls finished with a 30-22 shot advantage as well as a 10-7 edge in penalty corner attempts.
Keene played three goalkeepers in the game with freshman Rachel Loseby (Hartford, Vt.) getting the start and picking up the win. Loseby turned aside all five shots she face in just under 26 minutes of action.
Junior netminder Allison Chappell (Raynham, Mass.) made two saves in the setback for the Bears. Sophomore Jillian Delaney (Foxboro, Mass.) came on with 27:56 remaining in the second half and kept the Owls off the board the rest of the way. Delaney finished with six saves.
The Little East schedule continues for both teams on Tuesday. The Bears host the Lancers of Worcester State University at seven o'clock, while the Owls travel to the University of Southern Maine for a 3:30 game with the Huskies.