“99 percent concentration equals 100 percent failure“ is men’s soccer coach Ron Butcher’s motto for his team. Since making solid playoff runs in the past few seasons he says it’s nice to build on previous experience, but in order to find success this year his veterans need to step up.

The men have won the LEC championship in 2010, made it to the title game in 2011 and reached the semi-final last season in 2012. Even though they have been in so many post-season tournaments and conference championships, Coach Butcher says they need to be tougher mentally and physically.

File Photo The men’s soccer team is in position for another successful year. Both men’s and women’s teams fell in the LEC semifinal last season.

File Photo
The men’s soccer team is in position for another successful year. Both men’s and women’s teams fell in the LEC semifinal last season.

“What we did last year is last year,” said Butcher. “We obviously don’t have the same personnel. Each year every team is different and this year is not what I would call an experienced team yet.”

“Your veterans have to be your leaders, there is no question about it and senior leadership is the most important thing,” he said. “Our two captains Malcolm Cheney and Pat Anthony need to discipline this team and this year our captains need to be responsible for one or two victories this year. “

Coach Butcher sets up a very tough non-conference schedule to give his team the best chance to make the tournament.

“We cannot win enough games with the schedule we have to get an at-large bid,” he said. “It’s a crap shoot right now with that.”

After a recent trip to Montreal to play in a tournament with teams equivalent to Division I in the states, senior forward Scott Douglas said their team chemistry is better then ever.

“It definitely brought the team a lot closer than we were before. There isn’t that gap between the veterans and the freshman,” Douglas said.  “I think that helps and pushes us to get better.”

Malcolm Cheney is a senior goalkeeper for the Owls has played in 31 games over the past two seasons, posting 1.22 goals against average. He is 17-9 with 6 shutouts over that span with a .802 save percentage.

“The past couple years our leadership hasn’t been as constructive as it could have been,” Cheney said. “I think developing a personal relationship with the underclassmen is huge.”

Cheney has confidence in his team and believes that everyone on this team is here for a reason.

As long as they concentrate on the task at hand they should be successful.

Douglas has netted 24 goals since his freshman year in 2010 and is looking to set the bar for his younger teammates by utilizing his speed and attacking the net.

The forward averages 2.96 shots on goal per game in his college career.

“Now that I have won (LEC Conference) as a freshman, I want to win it again, have that feeling and show the underclassmen what it is like.”

The women’s team has almost followed that same pattern.

Reaching the LEC semi-finals for the past three seasons, the championship in 2012, and making the ECAC Northeast Championship two out of the past three seasons. Head coach, Denise Lyons is hoping for a change of luck after losing the LEC championship in 2012 in penalty kicks.

“We need to capitalize on opportunities,” Coach Lyons said.

“I think that’s the biggest thing last year, we got close in both tournaments but we didn’t capitalize. Last year we probably outshot almost every team we played but what good is that if you’re not putting it in the net?”

Lyons knows here team is a very tight group and like the men’s team the veterans need to be good role models and lead by example on and off the field.

One of those leaders is senior sweeper, Kelsie Bailey, whose ultimate goal is to use her experience to help her team rise to what they are capable of.

Bailey has started over 20 games each season including her freshman year.

As one of the nine seniors on this team she knows the importance of setting a good example.

“I try to stay positive, which is hard to do at times. I also work hard at practice, even though I have seniority I still need to earn my spot,” Bailey said.

Junior goalkeeper, Torrie Crenson is looking to shake off last year’s playoff loss and refocus for hopefully another run and the championship this fall.

Crenson has started 23 games prior to this season, posting a 1.66 GAA with 96 saves.

“We need to work around the mistakes we made last year,” Crenson said.

“I see the full field and everything going on, I like to be loud and vocal, we’re all positive on and off the field.”

Behind returning point leaders, Hayley Kenyon (31), Jessie Berthuiame (20) and Brittany Boscarino (19) this woman’s soccer team is poised for another run after losing only three seniors from last year.

The men’s soccer team is off to an 0-2 start after playing a decent game against a tough Brandeis University team and losing to Hobart where they had two own-goals.

They start conference play September 21st against Plymouth State.

The women are off to slightly better 1-1 start with a good 3-1 season opening win against St. John Fisher but losing a tough one 3-0 to a less skilled Framingham State after out shooting them 16-8.

Experience is key when it comes to playoffs. Knowing how to handle the pressures, knowing that one mistake might end your season.

For both Owls soccer teams it should be comforting to know that they have veterans to learn from if they reach their ultimate goal of getting to the NCAA Tournament.

“I think at the end of the season you need that extra bit of determination and commitment from everyone because it is a long season so people get tired and you get injuries and you just need people need to step up and pull together as a team,” said Douglas.


Stephen Aruilio can be reached at saruilio@keene-equinox.com

Share and Enjoy !