May 12, 2010

*Courtesy of Keene Athletics

KEENE, New Hampshire - Matt Schairer (Wrentham, Mass.) netted five goals and Griffin Meehan (Simsbury, Conn.) had two goals and five assists to lead Keene State College to a 21-7 victory over Castleton (Vt.) State College in a first-round NCAA men's lacrosse tournament game played at Owl Athletic Complex on Wednesday.

Extending its winning streak to 10 games, Keene State (13-5) moves onto the second-round where it will play defending national champs Cortland State on Saturday at SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex. (TBD) The Red Dragons (15-2) received a first-round bye.

Making its first NCAA appearance, Castleton State concludes its season with a 13-6 mark. The Spartans entered the game riding a 10-game winning streak.

The Owls jumped out to a 9-1 lead after the first quarter and never looked back. "Our plan was to get the bugs out quickly," said KSC Coach Mark Theriault. "Once you get a couple of goals everyone relaxes and they play really well."

KSC turned the first two face-off wins into goals with Schairer and senior Jamie LeSage (Exeter, N.H.) finding the back of the net. Schairer added a two-man up goal to make it 3-0.

Griffin, who assisted on five of the Owls' six goals, broke the school season assist record (36) and also became the first KSC player to eclipse the 100-point mark (104) in a season. "The quick start was due to Griffin, dodging and setting up plays," said Schairer, who also had two assists. "He was finding the open man."

Keene State scored three goals in the final minute of the quarter, Schairer scored on a man-up opportunity, Griffin went around two Spartan defenders to make it 8-1 with 11 seconds to go, and Schairer completed the onslaught going low for a goal with just two seconds left on the clock.

KSC led 11-2 at the half and 16-4 after three quarters on the way to posting its third NCAA tournament win in the program's history.

Defensively, the KSC never let the Spartans get untracked. "We knew which players to watch, so we just tried to create better match-ups for us," said senior Easton Kezer (Derry, N.H.) who raised havoc in Castleton's offensive zone with his stick work, causing four turnovers and scooping up six ground balls.

Lesage had a good day in the face-off circle winning 11 of 16 attempts.

A large lead allowed Theriault a chance to rest his starters and give many of his reserves a chance to play in their first NCAA game. Many of the seniors also got significant playing time in their final game at Owl Athletic Complex. "It's surreal. It hasn't hit me yet," said Kezer.

Freshman Ian Hart (Richmond, N.H.) had three goals while junior Ryan Shairs (Beverly, Mass.), LeSage, and sophomore Matt Crimmins (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) each tallied two goals. Freshman Taylor Jette (Simsbury, Conn.), juniors Colin Barnett (Cheshire, Conn.), Cam Souza (Hollis, N.H.) and Mike Araujo (Southborough, Mass.), and sophomore J.T. Galloway (Simsbury, Conn.) round out the scoring for KSC.

Juniors Craig MacDerment (Clifton Park, N.Y.) and Michael DelDotto (Reading, Mass.) each had two goals for the Spartans.

Keene State freshman goalie Jason Lesser (Brewster, N.Y.) finished the game with 10 saves. Sophomore David DeGhetto (Clifton, N.J.) had a busy day in goal for Castleton, stopping 21 shots.

The Owls are making their third trip to the NCAA tournament. In 2005, KSC lost an opening-round game to Endicott College 11-10. In 2007, the Owls defeated Merchant Marine 14-11 at Owl Athletic Complex, becoming the first LEC team to win an NCAA game. Advancing to the second-round, KSC lost to Western New England 13-5.