The Little East Conference post-season tournaments are over. The ultimate goal of representing Keene State College in the NCAA tournament is just a blur. All that is left for the Owls fall athletic teams is to look back and reminisce or to look forward to fall 2013 where they get another chance to play. Even though every fall athletic program finished with winning records, none of the teams could seal the deal when it mattered the most.
The men’s soccer team finished its regular season schedule with only one loss in the LEC. This earned the Owls a match with UMass-Dartmouth, who historically plays very tough against KSC. Dating to the 2009 season, according to KSC sports information, Dartmouth has played the Owls to a 3-3-1 record between the two clubs. The Owls were ousted by the Corsairs in the semifinals this season.
Senior back Michael Jacome said after all the hard work and effort put into a program for four years, it certainly was a hard way to go out. “It was just tough,” Jacome said. “It was our last game on our home field.”
[singlepic id=1533 w=320 h=240 float=right]
“The legacy here at [KSC] has been here a long time,” Jacome said. “The alumni always come back to support us, it’s a program that everybody stays involved in.”
The men’s soccer team will lose six seniors, including All-LEC back Blake Nyman and midfielder Kyle Leavitt. KSC will return their two leading scorers, Scott Douglas and Brian Swindell. Head Coach Ron Butcher completed his forty-second season with the Owls. The team elected not to participate in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) post-season tournament.
The women’s soccer team started with a 1-5 record to open up this year’s campaign. Two weeks into the season, the Owls won their next seven games and nine of their next ten. In the Little East Conference post-season tournament, the Owls defeated UMass-Dartmouth before sizing up a grueling match with the UMass-Boston Beacons.
The Beacons blanked the Owls earlier in the season by a five goal spread. A similar result happened in the Owls’ last shot towards the NCAA tournament. Boston defeated the Owls 3-0 in the semifinals. Playing a full game with complete intensity has been an issue for the Owls this season. Head Coach Denise Lyons said after the Dartmouth playoff game, “I’ve told the team that we’ve got to play for the full 90 minutes.”
“The team knows that I stress it, at this stage in the game there are no excuses,” Lyons said. “Get out there and play to your full potential, don’t wait until you’re down to bring it.”
[singlepic id=1538 w=320 h=240 float=right]
The women accepted an ECAC invitation after the knock-out in the LEC’s and slid by Albertus Magnus College on a snowy evening by a final of 1-0. The Owls advancement to play Endicott College at the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford, Conn. ended in a loss of 3-1.
In 2013, the Owls should return their top three scorers from this season. Hayley Kenyon, despite a long-term injury, led the Owls attack with 13 goals and was named to the Capitol One Academic All-District team. The Owls will graduate four seniors including two-time All-LEC midfielder Brittany Croteau.
“I think about not packing my soccer bag everyday for a practice or a game,” Croteau said. “It’s such a weird feeling.”
Another reputable program at KSC is the field hockey team. The Owls finished the LEC tournament with 15-8 record overall, and 9-2 in the conference. KSC was able to fend off Bridgewater State in the semifinals after dropping a game against the Bears early in the season. A day later in the championship game, the Owls fell to UMass-Dartmouth by the final of 1-0.
KSC accepted an ECAC bid and faced familiar LEC foe Plymouth State University in the semifinal match, losing 2-1. With a solid record overall and in conference, it certainly is not easy to tell how experienced the Owls are on the outside. “We’re in a sense, rebuilding,” Head Coach Amy Watson said. “We only brought back three starters this season.”
“It’s been a pretty good growing curve for us this year,” Watson said. “Despite our record, I’ve been really happy with our progression this season.”
[singlepic id=1529 w=320 h=240 float=right][singlepic id=1536 w=320 h=240 float=right]
KSC added seven players to the All-LEC team, according to KSC sports information. Only one of those players will be graduating after this season. Kalin Billert made her second straight appearance on the All-LEC team this season and was the Owls top offensive player with 18 goals, 14 assists and 50 points overall. Billert and her twin sister Alex, will both be leaving the team after this season along with senior back Katie Foyle.
Kalin Billert said the team has good chemistry and they will bring back a lot of talent next season. “We work really well with together by normally having team bonding a few nights a week.” Billert said, “Despite this being a rebuilding year, we’ve had some really good games and our underclassmen have stepped up.”
KSC will return most of their roster to next season. With a rich tradition of winning in the Owls field hockey program, KSC field hockey is predicted to be hungry for an LEC title and NCAA berth in the 2013 season.
The volleyball program arguably could have been one of the more “rebuilt” programs at Keene State College this season after graduating six seniors from the 2011 team.
The Owls accepted an ECAC bid and like field hockey, made a firm push towards an LEC Championship. The Owls had familiar face UMass-Boston standing before them in the Championship match. KSC Volleyball has only one LEC title from 2008.
KSC fell victim to the Beacons’ offensive experience; the young Owls hung around but had no spark in a comeback. Boston won 3-1 and the Owls found themselves in the ECAC preliminary round, defeating Daniel Webster. The Owls were 20-16 going into their match against Western New England in the ECAC semifinals.
The Owls are predicted to return almost eight of their freshman next season. Included in the mix, All-LEC outside hitter Angela Silveri will look to continue her dominance on offense.
According to KSC sports information, Silveri is the second Owl freshman to surpass the 300 kill milestone.
Sophomore outside hitter Sammy Dormio was named All-LEC honors as well and will return to the Owls next year and continue her versatility on both sides of the ball. Dormio had 21 kills and 12 digs against Western Conn., in the Owls’ semifinal win over the Colonials on Nov. 3, 2012.
“We’re confident that we’ll go out and give everybody a game,” Head Coach Bob Weiner said. “We’re the unknown element; the only thing our freshmen don’t understand is that in the LEC tournament, we’re just two matches away from the NCAA tournament.”
Brian Schnee can be contacted