Chelsea Lewis found a new home at the nest of Keene State College (KSC) after transferring from the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Lowell.
Lewis came to KSC to play the sport she loved– lacrosse. The sophomore midfielder left UMass Lowell because she said it wasn’t the right fit for her. “The school in general and the coaching style wasn’t the style that works best for me and how I learn, so it was just better for me to leave,” said Lewis.
According to Lewis, playing time was a big part of deciding if she should stay or leave. “Do I go to a D1 [Division 1] school where I spend literally 40 hours a week practicing and not playing and get nothing out of it, or do I go somewhere where I can play and can contribute to a team?” said Lewis. Lewis said her parents were the ones who pushed her into making the decision to leave UMass Lowell. “They were one of the biggest factors because I was determined to go back [to UMass Lowell] and prove that I could play or at least try to,” said Lewis.
It didn’t bother Lewis that she was going to be a D3 [Division 3] athlete opposed to a D1 athlete, she said. “I knew it was going to be different because of the hours, but I don’t really think about being D1 or D3. In high school when I started looking for schools to play lacrosse for, I never said it must be D1. I just got a scholarship so I ended up at Lowell,” said Lewis.
She didn’t make the decision to leave UMass Lowell until a month into this past summer. She met up with KSC Women’s Lacrosse Head Coach Katie Arsenault during the summer and Lewis instantly knew she wanted to come to KSC. “I feel like I can go to her [Arsenault] if I ever had a problem outside of lacrosse and talk to her about anything. She’s always there for me and I don’t know if I felt that at Lowell,” said Lewis.
Arsenault said Lewis has done a great job on learning how to work with the team, which has helped her contribute more as a player. “She has taken focus off just scoring, to setting up the motion for the offense, seeing the passes she can make to assist others scoring, as well as her work in transition both cutting to the ball and defending so we get it back,” said Arsenault. Lewis constantly wants to improve and has a positive, confident attitude as well, said Arsenault.
Lewis was surprised at how welcoming the team was. “The team was very welcoming to me and supportive on teaching me new things. I was surprised because with a team of girls, you never know if they’re going to be cliquey,” Lewis said.
KSC junior Taylor Farland said Lewis is a huge offensive force for the Owls. “She has grown so much as a player in this one season she has been here. She has really good stick skills and has really developed great field vision, which helps her to make the best decisions for the team,” Farland said.
She continued, “She will get the ball in front of the goal and know what to do with it, and it’s nice to be able to have trust in a first-year player like that. She has had a great first season at Keene and I’m very excited to see what she is going to bring to the team in her next couple of seasons here.”
Lewis said the biggest difference is the dynamic on the team. “Everyone here wants you to be the best you can be, everyone is willing to help you and work together. It wasn’t like that at Lowell. At a D1 school, everyone is on scholarships, so you fight for your positions and here, nobody does. Here at Keene, everyone wants to win, but win as a team,” said Lewis.
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