Men’s lacrosse, one of Keene State’s most exciting sports teams returned to the turf Monday, Jan. 28.
The men’s lacrosse team has been one of Keene State’s most successful teams and have won the Little East Conference Championship the last five years.
But that hasn’t always transferred to NCAA tournament success. The team has struggled in the tournament in recent years.
Senior midfielder J.J. Downey says this team has what it takes for a deep run into the tournament.
“I think that’s on everyone’s mind, moving past the first round and making our way to the Final Four.” Downey said.
When asked about this team, and how it differs from others Downey has been on he said, “This is a younger team, but we’ve brought a lot of guys back.”
Keene State has been snake bitten in the NCAA tournament the last few years. The last tournament victory was in 2010, when they beat Castleton State 21-7.
Since then, the Owls have not won a playoff game, despite earning a first round by the last two years.
Last year, the Owls suffered a blowout loss to Amherst College, losing 24-7.
“Our mentality and goal is to keep that in the back of our heads and think about just getting to that second game” Downey said.
Their playoff loss last year left a sour taste in their mouths, and they are ready to go back out and compete again this season.
The team may be younger, but that has not affected the confidence of Coach Mark Theriault.
“I think we can go deep in the tournament this year, it all depends on the dedication and how the team gels” said Theriault.
Coach Theriault has been coaching here for twenty years, but said this team is unique. While they have lost good players due to graduation, they have also gained players through recruiting and transfers.
“That this year will present a good opportunity for the younger players to step up and take a larger leadership role. It gives some of the other kids that were on the team for the last few years the opportunity to take the leadership role,” said Theriault.
This team is different from last year, but Theriault says they are up to the task of playing at a high level.
An important part of the lacrosse team is the training staff. Lacrosse is just one sport they work with but, with each sports comes different needs.
“ For the men we do travel so it does pick up our time with them” said a KSC trainer.
Lacrosse started practice last week and is preparing for its first game of the season, on Feb. 23 against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
The Owls will host their first home game of the season against UMASS-Boston on March 23.
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