Keene State spring teams head to Sunshine state
KEENE, N.H. 3/10/11 – Keene State Owl spring teams will escape the cold New England weather next week when they fly south to begin their respective Spring Week schedules in Florida.
For the first time in six years all four Owl teams will be in the Sunshine state. The men's and women's lacrosse and softball teams will play their games at the National Training Center in Clermont while the KSC baseball squad, which played the past five years in Arizona, will be based in Winter Haven - the former stomping grounds of the Boston Red Sox.
The Keene State baseball team begins its slate of eight single games on Saturday when they play Clarkson (N.Y.) University. The Owls (1-1) have a couple of games under their belt after playing at the Farmingdale (N.Y.) State tournament last weekend. "Last weekend's games were a big help," said KSC Baseball Coach Ken Howe. "It settled a few questions and allowed us to see some kids earlier than normal."
Howe said there are still a couple of position guys battling for spots and some players moving around due to injuries.
The Owls' tough Florida slate includes a game with Cortland State, ranked 18th in the most recent Division III poll.
The Keene State softball team will set up shop in Clermont for the second consecutive year. KSC Softball Coach Charlie Beach has high hopes for his team that finished 29-14-1 and captured its second straight ECAC title last spring. "The nucleus of this team (eight juniors) has won more games in its first two years than any other class and has the potential to continue down that road" he said.
Ranked third in the NEISCA preseason poll, the Owls play 12 games in the Dot Richardson Tournament, starting with Salve Regina and Concordia (Wis.) on Sunday.
KSC will face a pair of national ranked teams in Florida, including Wisconsin-Whitewater (11th) and Washington (Mo.) (25th).
The Keene State men's lacrosse team, which moved into the 27th spot in the national poll, will look to build on its 2-0 record during its trip. "I'm pleased with what I've seen so far, but we're still making adjustments," said KSC men's lacrosse coach Mark Theriault.
The Owls will have their work cut out for them in Florida, facing 18th ranked Geneseo (N.Y.) State on Wednesday and regional rival Springfield College on Sunday.
"The win over a team like Geneseo can put you in the national spotlight," said Theriault. "If we play up to our capability, I think we have a chance of beating them."
A long month and a half on the cold Owl Athletic Complex turf has also earned the Keene State women's lacrosse team a well-deserved trip to Florida. The Owls, who play just one game against Wheaton College on Wednesday, will spend most of the week turning up for a demanding north schedule. "This will give us a chance to work on things we couldn't do because of the cold weather," said KSC women's lacrosse coach Katie Arsenault. "Our schedule gets more difficult from here, so it should help us get ready for our conference games."
Keene State, which shared the Little East regular season championship with Eastern Conn. and Plymouth State last year, will play 19th ranked Bowdoin College at home on March 24.