Last Saturday head coach of the women’s soccer team, Denise Lyons earned her three-hundredth win as a head coach at Keene State College.
The Lady Owls defeated rival Lyndon State College in a 6-0 shutout.
Senior captain Brittany Croteau said, “Knowing that our coach was going to get her 300th win, the girls were amped up because she has done so much for us.” She added, “that the win will help both us and her accomplish more goals as the year goes on.”
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Coach Lyons, a former player for the women’s national team of Ireland attended KSC in 1985. Lyons played all four years at KSC and earned the coveted All-American title.
“After I graduated, I became assistant coach for two years and then became head coach,” Lyons said. She added, “This is my twenty-first year as head coach.”
Athletic Director John Ratliff spoke about Coach’s Lyons’ threehundredth win.
“Women’s soccer year in and year out have been successful both academically as well as athletically,“ Ratliff said. He added that the team challenges for the conference championship every year.
“Last year, they had the highest GPAs of all the college athletics at Keene State,” Ratliff also added.
Lyons stated that the team has held the highest GPA title for five consecutive years.
“We try to work with all of the player’s learning styles,“ Lyons said, “So they can one, succeed academically and two, to play soccer.” In addition to the KSC women’s soccer team’s success off the field, their fierce play on the field contributes to their impeccable accomplishments over the last few seasons.
Coach Lyons’ three-hundredth win was just one of their many successes in her career. Sophomore on the KSC soccer team Alex Haley said, “We work hard so we can play for ourselves but also we want to play for the coach because she puts so much effort into the team,”
Haley added, “Playing for someone who has won that many games just shows how good of a coach she is. Players aren’t good players unless they are taught by good coaches,” Haley said. But Coach Lyons said the wins aren’t what are important to her.
“I’m not in it for the wins. What matters is that my team plays the best teams out there. They could lose, but that helps the team grow,” Lyons said. Senior Joan Hamel, a four-year player on the women’s team, said, “There’s a lot of pride that goes a long with having played with Coach Lyons for four years and getting to celebrate that (the three-hundredth win) with her.”
Coach Lyons said she was offered other coaching jobs for Division I colleges, but she said she stayed in the area because she fell in love with the community, the campus, and the students who come to KSC. She said she credits the success of KSC’s athletic program because of the number of years of experience each of the coaches have.
“The average is 20 years,” Lyons said. Lyons won her three-hundredth game as head coach, but she isn’t focused on the number of wins she has, she is focused on preparing her team for the playoffs at the end of the season.
“My goals are to reach the playoffs of the Little East Conference and the winner of that gets to continue to the NCAA tournament,” Lyons said. She added, “We have been knocking on the doors for several years now.” Last year the women’s team hadn’t lost a single LEC game all season. But they fell to Eastern Connecticut State University, 1-0 in penalty kicks, in last year’s Little East Conference championship game. The KSC women’s soccer team has already accomplished one big milestone this season. But they don’t intend to stop there.
Brandon Chabot can be contacted at email@example.com