DANBURY, CT - The 2017 Little East Conference Men's Soccer semifinals at the Westside Athletic Complex on Wednesday night could not be decided after 110 minutes as Western Connecticut State University and Keene State College finished deadlocked at 1-1. The Colonials advanced to the LEC title match after out dueling the Owls, 4-3 in the shootout. They will take on Rhode Island College, which defeated University of Massachusetts Boston, 2-0 in the other semifinal, at the WAC on Saturday at 2 pm.
In the five-round one-on-one decision maker, WestConn won the opportunity to go first. Net minder Daniel Szabo (Trumbull, CT) opened up with a conversion. Keene State's Promise Kpee (Manchester, NH) also went high to even the shootout at 1-1.
Robert Della Penna (Suffield, CT) went successfully low and to the left in the second round for the Colonials. KSC's Conor Leahy (Beverly, MA) attempt was stopped by the out-stretched right hand of Szabo and WestConn took an early advantage.
WCSU senior back Shane Bierfeldt's (Torrington, CT) attempt narrowly went over the crossbar while William Salta (Laconia, NH) evened things back up for the Owls with his blast high and to his right.
Mikey Sciortino (Shelton, CT) and Luck Ndahigwa (Concord, NH) match successful attempt in the fourth round.
Colonials' senior midfielder Nick Kyriakidis (Sleepy Hallow, NJ), went high and to the right to give his club a 4-3 advantage in the final round. It was Kyriakidis's game-winning goal in double overtime on Saturday against UMass Boston that gave the Colonials a share of the LEC Regular-Season title and the tournament's top seed.
Keene State's Donovan Harris (East Hartford, CT) had one more chance to send the shootout into a second round, but his right-footer went wide of the left goal post.
Sophomore Luck Ndahigwa (Concord, NH) put KSC up 1-0 when he deposited a deflected shot by Promise Kpee (Manchester, NH) at the 55:23 mark. Kpee's initial shot was the Owls' first goal-scoring attempt of the night.
Junior Chauncey Allers (Wilton, CT) evened the score with his 14th marker of the season with 13:13 remaining in regulation. He received a 35-yard pass from Bierfeldt from midfield and blasted the ball in the right back corner of the goal.
WestConn would rattle off three more quality attempts in the five 5:47, but all went slightly wide of the goal mouth.
The Colonials had three solid chances in the first half beginning in the ninth minute when Kyriakidis sent a free kick all the way across the box, past several Keene State defenders and the left book of teammate Della Penna.
At the 28:21 mark Della Penna had another chance but could not get a solid shot off at the wide open goal.
Keene State's Promise Kpee (Manchester, NH) had the visitor's best opportunity in the first stanza. With 26 minutes remaining he worked his way open on the right side of the box, but lost control of the ball before a valid attempt.
Twenty-five seconds later Kyriakidis's shot sailed over the crossbar for WestConn and both teams settled for a scoreless tie heading into the recess.
Junior Luca DiCarlo (Waterbury, CT) did not have to make a save in his 45 minutes of work in the first half before yielding to Szabo after the break. Szabo finished with a pair of saves over 75 minutes.
Smith made seven stops for the Owls in regulation and a pair of extra periods.
WestConn is now 13-6-1 while the Owls drop to 7-5-5 on the season.
LEC TOURNAMENT NOTES:
Since the conference declared a champion, Keene State College has made 15 appearances and has won six titles, the last in 2010. WestConn has made five showings and won the crown in 2003 and 2005. UMass Boston is a three-time defending champion.