Brian Schnee

Equinox Staff


While the seasons are shifting, with every day delivering a colder nip to the New England air, the Keene State College Men’s and Women’s Soccer programs are trying to bring the heat into the postseason.

Both teams boast favorable records in Little East Conference play to date and are pushing forward towards the LEC tournament. With less than a week left in the regular season, the men’s and women’s teams do not know who they will be matched up against in the LEC tournament. However, even with encouraging records in conference play it does not appear both Owls clubs will be dealt a first-round home game.


Women’s Soccer:

The women’s program is dominant at Owl Stadium this season with seven wins and only two losses. Assistant Head Coach Sarah Testo said the Owls need to win out and secure a third spot in the tournament to get a home game. “We want that home game for our fans and especially for our players,” Testo said. “We play well at home.”

In addition, Junior Back Kelsie Bailey said she feels the importance of being on her home turf. However, for Bailey she said that the most important thing for her team to win games down the stretch is giving consistent effort for the full 90 minutes. “We’ll come together for five or ten minutes but then we’ll fall apart and the connection won’t be there,” Bailey said. “We have to play the full 90 minutes for all games, which is something we’ve struggled with.” Bailey, who was named to the All-LEC second team last season, said that the team chemistry this season is a plus and there is a lot of faith in some of the younger players to put in ample effort on the field. “We have freshmen that come out and start games,” Bailey said. “Just seeing the improvement over the course of the season has been really nice.”

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One freshman indicated by Bailey is defender Jen Wilson. “Just seeing her now from the beginning of the season is clearly an improvement,” Bailey said. “Seeing her play now, she has gained so much more confidence which is always good to see.”

Wilson has started a majority of games for the Owls this season and said that being home is certainly a better feeling than being on the road. “We know the field better,” Wilson said. “We definitely love home games.”

Sophomore goalkeeper Torrie Crenson has been to the LEC postseason but did not get playing time in the tournament behind All-Region and All-LEC goalie Megan Dempsey. Now in the starting role, Crenson clearly understands the importance of winning these crucial games in the postseason. “Obviously we would like to win here at home and most importantly win for the seniors,” Crenson said. “Coach always tells me to play our game and do what you do best, that has always been my motto.”

According to Assistant Coach Sarah Testo, the women’s team will likely accept a bid to the ECAC tournament if they do not win the Little East Conference and advance to NCAAs. For Owls soccer players, destiny lies at their feet for what’s to come for the remainder of the season. Both Owls teams have to complete the final week of regular season play before their location and opponent is known for the postseason.


Men’s Soccer:

The men’s soccer team is anticipating a finish that could land the team in second place. This would give the Owls an opportunity to at least host a semi-final game. All-LEC senior defender Blake Nyman said it has been stressed from the Owls coaching staff since day one to never be overly comfortable playing on an opponent’s home turf. “It’s imperative that we sleep in our own beds come tournament time,” Nyman said. “We don’t like to go in anyone else’s house with high-stakes games on the line.” Junior forward Brian Swindell said he does not play as well away from Owl Stadium due to the possibility of having long travel time.

“It’s just easier being home and not sitting on a bus for hours at a time,” Swindell said. “That is when I tend to over think things which is why I haven’t done as well.” Swindell is tied with Scott Douglas with the most goals this season for the Owls. Four of Swindell’s six goals have been scored at home.

For Douglas, he said that the intensity on the field and positive focus at practice need to be improved if they are going to have a shot at winning the tournament.

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“Concentration could be a lot better,” Douglas said. He added, “As a team we need to collectively come together a little bit better.” Head Coach Ron Butcher is no stranger to LEC competition. Butcher, in his forty-second season on the sidelines, has led the Owls to six LEC championships and to the NCAA tournament ten out of the last 15 years.

“Generally speaking the Little East is a very competitive conference,” Butcher said. “Every coach would say the LEC games are what gets you to the NCAA tournament.”

The men’s soccer team has six wins with two losses and a tie at home this season, considerably better than their record on the road. According to Coach Butcher, if the Owls are not victorious in the LEC tournament and advance to the NCAAs, they will not accept an ECAC invitation.


Brian Schnee can be contacted at


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