Cortland field hockey explodes late in NCAA first-round win over Keene State

Megan O'Brien (#18) celebrates with her teammates after scoring the go-ahead goal with 12:31 remaining (Darl Zehr Photography)

Box Score

CORTLAND, N.Y. – Nationally 16th-ranked Cortland scored four goals in the final 16 minutes to overcome a 1-0 deficit and the Red Dragons defeated visiting Keene State College, 4-1, in the opening round of the NCAA Division III field hockey tournament.

Cortland (18-3), which won its 13th straight game, advances to the second round (round-of-16) and will play at nationally third-ranked The College of New Jersey Saturday at 11 a.m. Keene State closes the season with a 14-9 record.

The teams played a scoreless first half, as well as the first eight minutes of the second half, before the Owls broke through. A shot by Kendal Brown (Belmont, MA) was stopped by Cortland goalie Kailynne Reinoehl (Lititz, PA/Warwick), but Casi Smith (Merrimack, NH) collected the rebound and buried a shot to put Keene State on top.

A few minutes later, Brown recorded her third defensive save of the game, clearing a shot by Anna Branch (Clifton Park/Shenendehowa) off the goal line, to keep the Owls in front. Cortland, however, tied the game with 15:30 remaining when Jessica Welsh (Hamilton) dribbled up the field and blasted a shot from just inside the circle past Keene State goalie Jordan LaRaus (Bedford Hills/Fox Lane).

Less than three minutes later, Cortland sent a ball from outside the circle that LaRaus kicked away, but Megan O'Brien (Carmel) controlled the ball and sent a 15-yard shot inside the right post to give the Red Dragons a 2-1 lead.

The lead grew to 3-1 when Welsh sent a long lead pass from outside the circle to set up a short-range goal by Liz Athing (Bay Shore) with 9:24 remaining. Cortland finished the scoring with 3:45 left when Branch dribbled along the right end line and sent a crossing pass that Jess Gibaldi (Westbury/W.T. Clarke) poked in near the left post.

Reinoehl matched her season high with 11 saves for the Red Dragons. LaRaus, who earned the starting nod in goal for Keene State due to regular starter Rachel Loseby (Hartford, VT) battling the flu, finished with nine saves. Cortland held a 23-18 edge in total shots, while Keene State had an 11-9 penalty corner advantage.

NCAA Digital Program
NCAA Interactive Bracket

Cortland 4, Keene St. 1

Scoring Summary (Goals-Assists)

Keene St.: Casi Smith 1-0
Cortland: Jessica Welsh 1-1, Megan O'Brien 1-0, Liz Athing 1-0, Jess Gibaldi 1-0, Anna Branch 0-1

Halftime: Cortland 0, Keene St. 0
Shots: Cortland 23, Keene St. 18
Saves: Jordan LaRaus (Keene St.) 9 (4 GA in 70:00); Kailynne Reinoehl (Cortland) 11 (1 GA in 70:00)

Record after game: Keene St. (Owls) 14-9; Cortland (Red Dragons) 18-3 (ranked 16th nationally in Div. III)