The Keene State College Lady Owls took the court ready to play this weekend.
They faced off against Mount Ida in the first round of the sixteenth annual KSC Tip Off Tournament on Friday afternoon.
The Owls took it to the girls from Mount Ida. The Lady Owls started the game off with a 19-6 run that continued for the entire first half.
They played a decent first half in a sloppy game with a lot of turnovers and unfinished baskets.
They led at the break 36-22. Their aggressive play continued in the second half.
Senior Captain Meghan Farrell watched the game from the sidelines but the Owls had no problems getting things done.
The Owls saw big games from their other two captains Sarah Laudano and Courtney Cirillo. Laudano played 31 minutes and finished with 10 points while Cirillo chipped in 17 minutes and six rebounds.
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KSC also saw a big game from junior Siobhan Carnell who chipped in 14 points in 19 minutes, leading all Keene State scorers. They closed the game out with a win, 73-51.
With the win on Friday, the Lady Owls moved into the championship game on Saturday against Westfield State at 3 p.m. in the Spaulding Gymnasium.
Captain Courtney Cirillo lived up to expectations in that game, scoring 19 points in 38 minutes.
The Lady Owls won the championship against Westfield State, 64-58.
Freshman Courtney Roberts also stepped up big in the second half, scoring 20 points in 19 minutes. Roberts had 18 of those points in the second half.
Captain Meghan Farrell returned to play in this game. She cleaned the glass for seven rebounds and scored 10 points in 37 minutes.
If the Tip-Off Tournament was any indication of how the Lady Owls season will play out, they are looking great.
Their three captains, Sara Laudano, Courtney Cirillo and Meghan Farrell, contributed a significant amount, which is exactly what Coach Keith Boucher expects. “The players we counted on last year, being our three captains, Laudano, Cirillo, and Farrell are the leaders of the team, obviously.
They’re the players we are going to rely on heavily throughout the year,” Boucher said.
Concerning the Tip-Off Tournament, Boucher said, “We aren’t completely healthy but that’s when new players get their opportunity. And sometimes people step up and sometimes they don’t.”
Apparently, health wasn’t an issue for the Owls, as they improved their record to 3-0 on the season and also got to take home a shiny piece of hardware.
Although Captain Meghan Farrell watched the first game from the sidelines, she did play in the second game.
Farrell intends to work on staying healthy this season.
“I have to keep making trips to the trainers. I have to keep stretched out. I just have to keep doing what I am doing now if I want to stay healthy, which I do,” Farrell said.
After winning the Tip-Off Tournament, KSC’s next challenge comes in the form of preparing for Little East Conference play.
“We have a very difficult schedule to start off the season but that’s by design because we want to be ready to play in our conference when it starts. We have to really come along in the next couple of weeks to compete in the LEC this year,” Boucher said.
“We are working to get better individually and better as a team. There are still things that we can improve on but I definitely see this team competing in every LEC game this season,” senior Captain Sarah Laudano said.
“Every LEC game is extremely physical so we need to make sure our young team is ready for that,” Laudano said. “And we hope that they are ready to get knocked around a little bit because that’s how those games get.”
In order to compete, the team needs a lot from their captains but they also need a lot from their three freshman.
“Our freshmen, Courtney Roberts, Sarah Phelan, and Jamie Boyatsis are ahead of schedule right now. And obviously freshmen sometimes start really strong and then plateau because of the long season but as of right now, they have made some good contributions and when they’ve gotten the opportunity to play, they’ve done really well,” Boucher said.
“We didn’t graduate anybody. We didn’t have any seniors last year so we have quite a few returners. But we also have a great influx of young players and they’ve added some enthusiasm and some emotion. And that’s good. It’s healthy to have a good mix of young and old,” Boucher said.
“We have some maturity and some youth which both do us well. The past couple years, we have just been really young,” Farrell said. “But now we have some players that have been around for a while and know what to do, mixed with our new players.
We really just have an all around game this year.”
A solid mix of new and old proves to be working so far for the Lady Owls this season as they improve to 3-0.
The Lady Owls first Little East Conference game is against UMass-Boston on Dec. 3, 2011 at the Spaulding Gymnasium at 1 p.m.
Michelle Berthiaume can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org