The Keene State College men’s lacrosse team made an explosive statement, avenging last years’ loss to Western New England University to open the season.
The 2016 season opener was a high flying affair for the owls as they scored 19 goals in their 19-11 home win. Senior captain and attackman, Tyler McKelvie netted the first goal of the game nearly seven minutes into the first period. The opening goal would be the first of four goals for McKelvie. After a responding goal by WNEU, KSC junior midfielder Bryan Rotatori would score his first of five goals before the end of the first period.
Rotatori would go on to factor in on nine of the owls 19 goals with four assists (lead the team). Goals would also come in bunches from sophomore Hunter Arnold (4), sophomore Frank Bacarella (2), junior Rob Hart (2) and junior Tyler Reilly (2).
The game would reach it’s closest point in the third period, that concluded at a score of 9-12. With the owls lead in jeopardy, crucial defensive play from defensemen juniors Brandon Charney, Thomas Jenoski and senior Michael Wiedenfeld would help seal the win. In his first collegiate start, sophomore goalkeeper Mat Howe would play a large role in the Owls’ defensive successes as well with 13 saves. After the game, Howe said going in he just had to stay calm.
Howe added that his defensive line helped him out with great communication and received great “pointers” from senior captain Alex Sharp on the sidelines, who was not able to start due to injury.
“The offense picked it up in the fourth quarter and settled us in on defense,” Howe said.
With the opening win in the books, Head Coach Mark Theriault said he was pleased with his team on both ends of the field.
Going in Theriault recognized that the Golden Bears were “one of the top teams in New England” and said that it was important that his team play teams like them in order to be considered among the upper echelon in Division 3.
Theriault said they had a “bad taste” in their mouths from last seasons’ loss to the golden bears, and were excited to get the win.
The game’s leading scorer, Rotatori, described the Owls’ offense as a “free range” offense that takes what the defense gives them. Going into the game, Rotatori said a lot of his teammates were nervous but were extremely confident in their scoring ability since the Owls were ranked third in Division 3 in scoring just a year ago.
Moving forward, Rotatori said, “Now we have to forget this game, we made a mark. This team was ranked above us…we weren’t ranked in the top 30. Now we have to move on to RPI who’s also ranked in the top 30 above us.”
The Owls will continue their home stand playing RPI Saturday at 1:00 pm.
Nick Tocco can be contacted at email@example.com