Keene State College’s men’s lacrosse team is in the middle of its season, and the team it still flying high after winning four straight Little East Conference titles. Since the first title in 2014, the team has racked up some quite impressive numbers. Some of these numbers included going 50-20 and winning 36 LEC games in four years. The team outscored their opponents 1152-739, which is a difference of 5.9 goals per game. Opposing teams did not have much luck against them in the LEC championships either as the team outscored their opponents 85-39 in the four championship games, which is a difference of 11.5 goals per game.
At end of the 2018 regular season, the team surged into the playoffs looking for a fifth straight title after a decisive win against the University of Southern Maine with seed implications.
Head Coach Mark Theriault has been a coach for the Owls for nineteen seasons. Theriault has racked up 158 wins and eight LEC titles since 2005. When asked how Theriault keeps winning with players coming in and out, he said, “Recruiting is a big part, as well getting players who have experience.”
At the beginning of each season, there are expectations for what is about to come, and Theriault said he tells his players, “We have to stay humble, and there are going to be high expectations.” Additionally, Theriault said, he tells them, “Last year has no effect on this year.” Some coaches will go with their experienced upperclassman, but Theriault is a little different. Theriault said, “We play whoever can produce and I’m class-blind.”
Senior midfielder Hunter Arnold was unable to meet for an interview, but has been one of the biggest parts of this winning stretch. Arnold has been playing for the Owls since the 2014-15 season, and was part of the last three LEC titles. Arnold has played in 67 games for the Owls and has started 26 of those with 246 points that include 164 goals and 82 assists. Arnold is also an all conference player and a senior captain.
First-year midfielder Matthew Lemke is a new addition to the team who has not only played in, but started all fourteen games. Other than defenseman Weston Coogan, Lemke is the only first-year to play in every game this season. Lemke earned this playing time because of his skills in the face-off circle. Lemke came to KSC with some knowledge of the Owl’s success. Lemke said “I came here because I knew the school was good and they were one of the only teams that can compete with the NESCAC [New England Small College Athletic Conference].” Lemke added, “I was aware of the previous title, but not aware that they had won four straight titles.” When asked about Arnold, Lemke said, “He is a great leader, and you know he’s always got your back.”
The Owls are surging into the 2018 LEC playoffs as they look to capture a fifth straight title when they take on the winner of UMass Boston and Plymouth State University.
Howard Little-Simpson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org