WORCESTER, Mass. - Worcester State University has been crowned the 2019 Little East Conference Field Hockey Champion after a convincing 6-0 win over Keene State College Saturday afternoon at Coughlin Field.
With the win, Worcester State moves to 18-4 overall on the season and earns the Little East's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Keene State's season comes to a close at 15-8.
The Owls had won the previous six LEC titles dating back to 2013. The Lancers are the first team besides Keene State or UMass Dartmouth to win an LEC field hockey championship since Southern Maine in 2003, and are the first LEC affiliate member to win the conference.
Worcester State wasted no time getting on the board in the title game, as senior Rachel Hopkins (Chelmsford, Mass.) scored on a penalty corner just 45 seconds into the game. Senior Olivia Antonelli (Westford, Mass.) and junior Sarah Duff (Warren, Mass.) were credited with assists on the strike.
Midway through the opening quarter, Worcester State extended its lead to 2-0 when junior Alexa Bobbin (Charlestown, R.I.) put in a rebound off a penalty corner for her third goal of the season. Early in the second quarter, Antonelli got in on the fun with a goal on a penalty stroke to make it 3-0, which would hold up until halftime. Worcester State outshot the Owls 12-4 in the first half, including 8-0 in the second quarter.
Worcester State showed no signs of letting up when the teams emerged from the half, as Hopkins netted her second goal of the game 7:25 into the third quarter to make it 4-0. Just three and a half minutes later, Duff found the scoresheet by depositing her third goal of the year.
Hopkins completed Worcester State's shutout with her third goal of the game in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, her 30th goal of the season. The senior was named Tournament Most Valuable Player with an astounding eight goals, including all three game-winning goals, and two assists in three games.
Sophomore Jess Hopkins (Chelmsford, Mass.) was stellar in net, making three saves to earn the championship-clinching shutout.
The Lancers will find out their opponent in the NCAA Tournament in a press release from the NCAA on Sunday morning at 11:30 a.m.