The votes are in and the readers elected Keene State College women’s lacrosse team’s senior midfielder as the athlete of the year.
Lauren Sawyer was one of the eight KSC athletes nominated for the honor. Sawyer claimed 57 percent of the vote, just barely edging out women’s soccer forward senior Katie Bradford in a very close race.
“It’s definitely rewarding, being recognized,” Sawyer said. “It means people know who I am, what I bring to my team, and what my team’s accomplished.”
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Sawyer is a senior leader this year on a very talented KSC women’s lacrosse team. Sawyer is one of the best playmakers in the Little East Conference, leading the conference with 41 assists through the 16-game regular season.
Sawyer has an impressive lead in the category with at least 16 more assists than any other player in the LEC. Combined with her 21 goals this year, Sawyer is the team leader with 62 points this season. Sawyer said the biggest contributors to her success on the field this year were her teammates.
“I get most of my points from assists,” Sawyer said. “We have three or four girls on the team with over 20 goals, so I think that says a lot.”
Sawyer said her biggest accomplishment this year was when she set two school records in KSC’s game against New England College.
“I had ten goals in one game, which was a school record and I had 13 points total in that game, which was another school record,” Sawyer said.
Sawyer ranks third in total points in the LEC, trailing only Devon Edwards of Western Connecticut State University and Ashley Prizio of Eastern Connecticut State University. Sawyer said her favorite target this year was her long-time teammate, senior attacker Jill Kirk, who was one of the team’s leading scorers with 31 goals this season.
“Jill’s always had all the goals and I have all the assists,” Sawyer said. “Lauren Brown stepped up this year too, but you have to give Jill credit for always being there.”
Brown led the Owls in scoring with 34 goals on the year.
“My goal was to win as many games as I can this year and hopefully to win an LEC title,” Sawyer said. “I want to make sure we win the championship.”
Sawyer led the Owls to an 11-5 record this season. The team got of to an unexpectedly rocky 1-4 start this year, but then turned things around, going 10-1 the rest of the year. The Owls were good when it mattered, going 5-1 in the LEC, with their only loss coming to ECSU.
KSC finished second overall in the conference to ECSU. The Owls finished the season with an impressive seven-game winning streak, making them the hottest team in the conference going into the post-season. Sawyer came off a spectacular junior campaign where she was named to the first team all-LEC.
“We play our first tournement game Thursday, so we’ll know then if I achieved my goal,” Sawyer said.
Sawyer and the Owls take their next step towards an LEC title Thursday, as they host Southern Maine in their LEC semifinal game.
In a close race, Katie Bradford was this year’s athlete of the year runner-up. As a senior forward for the KSC women’s soccer team, Bradford led the Owls to an ECAC championship during her final campaign at KSC.
Bradford led the LEC in both goals scored, with 19, and assists, with 16.
Bradford capped off her college career setting the KSC all-time scoring record with 51 goals. She was also named to the LEC all-academic team this year.
Ryan Glavey can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org