[singlepic id=492 w=320 h=240 float=right]Keene State College field hockey are at the top of the conference thanks to unexpected improvement
In what can’t be described as anything but a team on fire, the Keene State College field hockey team is dominating the Little East Conference thanks to its talented core of players and teamwork.
“We have good chemistry right now,” Field Hockey Head Coach Amy Watson said.
Watson said the team is just clicking right now, and the fact that there are six seniors starting in key positions for the team helps a lot.
One player really stepping up for the team this year is senior midfielder Alyce Ferenc. Watson said the team’s key players, like seniors Elizabeth Coffin and Kerry Howe, are all still playing well, but Ferenc is one player in particular that has really made great strides in her game this year.
“Alyce Ferenc has been great,” junior forward Kalin Billert said. “Especially because she’s been great on both offense and defense, and she’s got everyone pumped up.”
Ferenc said the key to the team’s success this year is due to their teamwork.
“Not only do we have skilled players, but we’re skilled as a team,” Ferenc said, “And the starters this year have been playing together for two to four years now, so we trust each other.”
Possibly the squad’s most impressive feat this year is not simply its 11-2 record, but the fact that it has tallied nine shutouts against its opponents this year.
Watson said she gives a lot of credit to her midfielders for the team’s lock-down defense.
“The midfield has been really good this year, they’ve been great at dropping back and helping on D, so that’s an extra three defensive-minded players.”
This additional help has certainly benefitted freshman starting goalkeeper Caitlin Davino-Draper. Watson said it’s always risky when playing a freshman goaltender, because they’re going to make mistakes and let in some goals.
It’s difficult for freshmen to make an immediate impact for a college team, simply because of the learning curve between the high school and college game.
Another player making an impact this year is Billert. Not a starter necessarily, but Billert has seen plenty of playing time, and with eight goals so far this year is one of the team’s leading scorers.
Billert said her twin sister, Alexandra Billert and she recommitted themselves to the game over the summer.
“My sister and I decided we really wanted to step it up this year and help win the LEC,” Billert said. “So we trained really hard over the summer.”
Watson said the team is very deep at forward and rotates through nine players on the forward line as part of their offensive strategy.
The Owls have proven very formidable this year, outscoring their opponents 46 to eight in their 13 games. The team’s only losses have come to Williams College in a 3-2 double overtime game, and a 2-0 loss to a highly ranked Trinity College team.
The Owls have been untouchable in the LEC with an unbeaten 7-0 conference record and have let up just one goal in conference play.
The team has reason to be confident in its play, but Watson noted the dangers of being at the top.
“We’d love to win the LEC regular season title, and secure the top seed, and host the tournament here [at KSC],” Watson said. “Certainly we’re poised to do so, but now everyone is trying to pick us off.”
The Owls are playing confident and strong, and seem to be a match for anyone this year. Ferenc expressed her high expectations for her team.
“Obviously our goal is to win the LEC,” Ferenc said. “And I’d really love to make it through the first round of the NCAA’s, and I know this team can do it.”
The team continues to build on its success and has built up a six game winning streak.
With only a third of their season to go, and just four more conference match-ups, not much more stands in the way of this group and their aspirations to be the champs.
“So far so good, don’t want to jinx anything yet,” Watson said. “But the chemistry just seems to be right this year.”
If that chemistry continues the Owls could be a match for anyone, and as it stands KSC is the team to beat in the LEC.
Ryan Glavey can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org