The Keene State College field hockey team advances to the Sweet Sixteen of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) regional playoffs for only the fifth time in the school’s history. The Owls made it to the second round of the NCAA playoffs last year, but were defeated by Bowdoin College 5-1.

On Wednesday, Nov. 9, the Owls took on SUNY Geneseo in the first round of the NCAA regionals at Keene State College.

Shelby Iava/ Sports editor

Shelby Iava/ Sports editor

In the first half, the Owls did what they do best on offense putting up 12 shots and getting five opportunities in penalty corners.

It didn’t take long for the Owls to jump ahead in an early 1-0 lead after Mia Brickley scored her first ever NCAA regional goal.

The SUNY Geneseo Knights would strike right back as Maria Dillingham would put away a score to tie the game up 1-1.

“We were having a tough time getting around their goalie… It was [a] hard time figuring out which corner to use,” said Head Coach Amy Watson.

Keene State would soon figure that out. With seven minutes left before halftime, Sami Smith scored her 36th goal of the season, giving the Owls a one point lead at halftime.

At the half, the Owls were dominating on offense, but simply waiting for the results to kick in.

Sami Smith said, “I think coming off a championship game we weren’t used to that fast pace, intensity and aggression. It was definitely a battle for us.”

In the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Owls kept the pressure on the Knights with three penalty corners, which paid off with a goal by Erica Stauffer.

This Owls would go onto win with a final score of 3-1, moving them onto the Sweet Sixteen.

Keene State’s return to the Sweet Sixteen will be facing the number one ranked Messiah College in Pennsylvania.

Playing the top team in the NCAA Division III rankings is mentally difficult to prepare for, but senior Brittney Cardente said, “Mentally, I think we need to accept this awesome opportunity. I mean we’re about to go into the Sweet Sixteen to play the number one nationally ranked team. It’s honestly an unbelievable experience.”

This will be the Owls’ 25th game of the season. Messiah College has only played 19 games this season. “Physically, we just have to try our best, go for all the balls, be aggressive and hopefully just believe in ourselves and maybe get a W[in],” said senior Sami Smith.

Head Coach Amy Watson said, “They just have to go out and play their game and play hard.”

Joe Cortese can be contacted at

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