The Keene State College women’s soccer team took to the turf on Saturday for some friendly spring competition.
The Owls traveled to New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire, for a series of shortened games against other schools in the area in order to keep the rust off in a long offseason and test out team dynamics on the field without this year’s graduating seniors.
Throughout the course of Saturday’s action, the women played four twenty-five minute games. The first of which resulted in a win for the Owls against the hosting NEC
Pilgrims, followed by another win against Mount Ida. Keene State lost only to Eastern Nazarene in a close 1-0 matchup. The Owls then came back to finish off NHTI with a score of 3-0 in their final match of the afternoon. Several players said it was good to get back out on the field and thought they did well despite not having the seniors.
“We really came together, I think after losing our seniors that have carried our team this past season, it went really well,” junior forward Brittany Tolla said.
Head Coach Denise Lyons said that the outing makes her optimistic about what is to come next season.
“I’m really excited. I like what I saw,” Lyons said.
The tournament was more than just an opportunity for Lyons and her team to try out their new dynamics. Lyons said that the matches also gave her a look at what could be in store for the team next season.
First-year forward Zoe Paige scored her first goal in an Owls Uniform in the final game against NHTI.
“I wanted to try some new combinations up top. We’ve got a lot of forwards and a lot of different options, I was just trying to see where we could put players in,” Lyons said.
Some of those combinations include Tolla and Julia Pearson, and Morgan Kathan with midfielder Patricia Norton.
The games also gave players insight into what they need to work on for next year. Midfielder Kali Santino said that she and the rest of her teammates need to be sure to pass more and be on their toes.
“We just have to make sure we’re always moving and stay aggressive,” Santino said.
The tournament didn’t paint a clear picture of what the team will be like in the Fall of 2016. The matches were nine-versus-nine, so the formations weren’t realistic to how they would be in-season. Additionally, the team is still waiting on the incoming first-year’s.
Furthermore, many members of the team were not on the field on Saturday, like Katie Silegy and Tyrah Urie. Chloe Loos, Rebecca Costello and Taylor Farland also did not make it onto the field for the tournament. The turf field they were playing on in Henniker has a different feel to it than the grass fields the Owls normally play on.
Now the team will be focused on following strength and conditioning regimens getting ready for the real deal, eleven-on eleven matchups and another shot at the Little East conference title.
Jacob Barrett can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org