A slow start doesn’t always translate to a lost season, just ask the Keene State College Men’s Lacrosse team.
The team started its season off a game below .500 in its first 7 games. Many of which, such as the Owls’ game against Tufts University, the 2014 Division III Champions.
These games were scheduled in order for head coach Mark Theriault to get his players reading for Little East Conference play. While playing such high level teams does bring with it the risk of a loss, Coach Theriault said his team has shown their potential while on the field.
“I think we’re close. I think sometimes we have spurts of some greatness,” Theriault said. Players have seen the potential early on in the season, and are focusing on areas where the squad could improve.
“We went into it with a lot of expectations. I think we’ve seen a lot of positives, but a couple negatives too. We’re not quite where we need to be yet but we’re making strides to get there,” sophomore midfielder Tyler Reilly said.
While the Owls are averaging over fourteen goals scored each game, they are also giving up almost the same number of goals per game as well, along with losing sixty percent of faceoffs and having a save percentage slightly above fifty percent.
Regardless of the current statistics, the Owls have seemingly have made strides compared to this time last year, in 2014 they went 1-6 during their first seven games.
Despite his team’s troubles in the early parts of the season, coach Therisault is optimistic about the beginnings of Little East Conference match-ups.
“I told my team the other day, ’We’re now 0-0 in conference so it’s time to role’,” Therisault said.
Therisault and his team won their first conference game of the season after defeating rival UMass Dartmouth in a double-digit 18-6 victory on March 28.
The win comes off the heels of a trip down south to Florida during Spring Break. The team played two games, splitting the two game stretch 1-1. Teammates were able to bond and connect during this time as well.
“I think it helped us out a lot because you’re living with kids you’re not normally living with and you’re definitely becoming a lot closer… Now you’re getting to see the younger kids and the older kids hanging out more and growing as a team,” sophomore defensive man Brandon Charney said.
Expectations, according to some players, remain high, so much so that fans can expect a sweep of conference opponents.
“We don’t see a reason why we shouldn’t go 7-0 over the next couple of weeks. I think we’re definitely the best team in the conference and I think we just need to prove that to everyone else and ourselves,” Reilly said.
Going on such a streak would land the team in the LEC playoffs, which is something the Owls had a taste of last season.
“Hopefully [we] make some noise in the [NCAA] tournament,” Charney said.
Charney continued and said he hopes that he and his team are able to push through this year’s regular and postseason and deep into the NCAA tournament, a feat they hope to repeat, and accomplish after a quick first round exit in 2014.
Jacob Barrett can be contatced at jbarret @kscequinox.com