KEENE, N.H.—Keene State College gave the Beacons their best shot, but Krista Ledin (Bridgewater, Mass.) and the Beacons answered, to take control of first place in the Little East Conference Saturday, with a 3-2 victory at the Owl Athletic Complex.
Ledin scored two second-half goals, including the game-winner with three minutes remaining, to help UMB earn their third consecutive win over the Owls who came into the contest with a 4-0 mark in Little East play.
UMass Boston moved to 13-4 and 5-1 in the conference and due to their victories over Keene State (5-1) and Western Connecticut State University (5-1), the Beacons hold the tiebreaker over both sides with two games left to play. The Owls fell to 11-4-1 and 5-1 in Little East play, after dropping their second-straight home contest.
Ledin scored 86 seconds into the second half to put the Beacons ahead 2-0 and then recorded her league-leading 24th tally of the season with 3:07 to play, to give UMass Boston their season-high fifth win a row. The Beacons junior forward eclipsed the 50-point mark for the third consecutive season and has now recorded 13 goals, including three-straight game-winning goals, and one assist (27 points) during the team's five-game winning streak.
It was far from a solo effort though, as Tayla Andrews (Plymouth, Mass.) set the tone early for the visitors, with a goal less than five minutes into the contest.
Junior goaltender Kristen Spain (Quincy, Mass.) made five saves on seven shots to move to 12-2 all-time against Little East foes.
Jessica Berthiaume and Kara Pavlidis each scored for the Owls, while junior goaltender Tori Crenson made six saves on nine shots in net.
The Beacons outshot the Owls 16-14 for the contest, but Keene State managed to earn a 4-3 edge in corner kicks.
UMass Boston took a 1-0 lead 4:18 into the game off a free kick from just outside the box. Crenson made the initial save on a drive by Pugliese, but Andrews was there to knock home the rebound into the open net.
After a scoreless 40 minutes, Ledin got the Beacons onto the board right out of halftime, as she took a short cross from Garufi and blasted it home under the crossbar to give UMB what looked like a commanding 2-0 lead at the 46:26 mark.
The Owls wouldn't go away easily though, as Berthiaume scored her team-leading ninth goal of the season at 53:34 to cut UMB's lead to 2-1.
Pavlidis tied it at 66:11, with an unassisted tally to make it 2-2 with 33 minutes remaining.
With a tie game and 33 minutes to go, both sides came up with several chances, as the two teams combined for eight shots before the final whistle.
Ledin lifted the Beacons to a late victory, when she received a terrific pass from Pugliese over the top and lifted the ball just over Crenson's hands into the back of the net, with two defenders trailing.
Keene State managed to record one more shot, a blocked shot off the foot of Berthaiume, and a corner kick in the final minute, but ultimately failed to challenge Spain before the final horn.
UMass Boston will have a few days off, before they take on regionally-ranked (#6) Brandeis University Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at the Clark Athletic field.