Last week, four of Keene State’s very own Owls received honorary Little East Conference (LEC) weekly awards.
With these accomplishments, all four players reflected on their thoughts and ending goals as the season winds down to a gradual end.
Senior, athletic training major and offensive player of the men’s soccer team Riley Steele sees this award as an honor.
“It’s nice to have your hard work and everything I’ve put into practice, day in and day out, and every game, just working as hard as I do, it’s nice to get some recognition for that. It feels good to get that award, but I would probably give them [the team] more of the credit. Like yeah, I got the stat line that week, but at the end of the day, it’s a team effort; it’s all 11 of us on the field at one time and everyone that comes off the bench works just as hard as we do. I would give the credit to them more so than me.”
Steele is now facing his last season as a Keene State Owl and finds it “bittersweet,” but looks forward to finishing the season out, aiming to “win the LEC and get a NCAA tournament bid.”
Gretchen Greene, who is a senior playing for the women’s soccer team and is a management major, received an LEC weekly award as well.
Greene said, “It’s pretty awesome. This is my first award and, especially after my first goal, so it’s really exciting. I really didn’t expect it, so it’s awesome…I didn’t even know about it when I first got it, so when I opened my group chat and a girl on my team was like, ‘Hey congrats you got LEC defensive player of the week,’ and I was like, ‘What, no way.’ They all [the team] are all so supportive about it and they were all so excited for me. We’re just all so supportive of each other.”
Greene also pinned her goal, as well as her team’s goal as “winning the LEC and getting the title.”
With two senior Keene State Owls already being awarded, a third joined the group.
Senior Jason Smith, the goalie of the men’s soccer team and a safety studies major, gave his thoughts on his achievement.
Smith said, “It feels good, I mean much-deserved because that was the week we beat UMass Boston [and] they’re ranked 15th in the country. It means a lot. [The] goalkeeper doesn’t really get that much recognition a lot of the times. I got it twice last year, but my actual goal is to get goalkeeper of the year.”
Both Smith and Steele carry that same goal for this year’s team.
“We just need to keep performing. We have one of the best teams that I’ve ever played on, as in skill. We want to win the LEC.”
The fourth addition to last weeks LEC awards was volleyball player Bailey Wilson, who is a first-year and nursing major.
Wilson was the only lower classman to receive an LEC weekly award last week and was more than excited about it.
“It feels really good. I mean honestly, I didn’t really know about it. I’m from California and my parents knew before me, like they were calling me and congratulating me and I was like, “Oh that’s so cool.’ I was excited, but I don’t think I fully understood what it was. I had to look into it and I guess the more I looked into it, I was just like, ‘Oh wow, this is really cool.’ I thought it was a really cool concept that you could get this award throughout the week and I was just really honored. But it’s not just me and my award, I couldn’t have it if everyone else wasn’t doing their job.”
Wilson also has high hopes for her team and faith in their abilities.
“Volleyball is one of the most team-oriented sports. The team is very accepting…it was a really good foundation to have before we even touched the court. It’s so momentum-based. A goal for the team would be no matter what, just being really proud of what we do on our side of the court and, well, winning wouldn’t be too bad either.”
As the seasons continue in Keene, each game brings each player closer to the end.
For those three seniors, facing the end of their career as a Keene State Owl is “bittersweet” and “sad,” as they expressed, but they will be able to leave with the Owls’ way in mind.
Caroline Perry can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org