Set to begin her 24th season as head coach of the Keene State field hockey team, Amy Watson has set her sights on regaining the Little East Conferecne championship and returning to the NCAA tournament.
A team in transiton last season, the Owls still manged to finish with a 15-9 record and reach the finals of the conferecne tournament. In 2011, the Owls set a school record for wins (20), won the Little East Championship, and posted the program's first-ever victory in the NCAA Division III tournament.
Watson and the Owls know a thing or two about LEC titles. After capturing five straight conference crowns (2004-2008), KSC finished the 2011 season with a 20-5 record, posting a perfect 11-0 reguar season mark in the LEC on the way to defeating rival Plymouth State (2-0) for the conference crown. KSC capped its season with a NCAA first-round win (2-0) over Endicott College.
Looking to continue the string of tournament titles this year, Watson has developed the Owls into a top program in the region. Under her guidance, KSC has qualified for 11 Division III post-season appearances, including six NCAA tournament berths (1998, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011), a 2003 ECAC championship, and seven Little East Conference titles (1998, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2011).
A 1984 graduate of Springfield College, Watson enters the 2013 season with a highly respectable 319-154-11 career and 127-19 LEC record at Keene State. She reaced the 300 coaching career milestone with the Owls' 3-0 win over Framingham State in 2011.
In addition to KSC's success on the field, Watson, who has been recognized five times as the LEC Coach of the Year, is equally proud of the numerous honors bestowed on her players. During her tenure, 19 Owls have been recipients of All-America honors, including Erin Dallas and Carly Benning, who received the honor in 2009. Dallas, who made a miraculous recovery form a post-op infection, received the ECAC award of Valor as well.
In addition, 13 players have received LEC player-of-the-year honors. In 2011, the Owls swept the top honors in the LEC Elizabeth Coffin and Kerry Howe being named offensive and defensive players of the year's respectively and Davino-Draper being selected as the rookie of the year. Since joining the LEC in 1998, KSC has produced 78 All-Conference players.
Just as important are the multiple members of the team who have received national academic honors over the years. Last season, the KSC field hockey team placed 11 players on the NFHCA All-Academic team.
Watson was named the full-time coach of the Owls in the summer of 2009. Her second duty of the athletic department is to run the student-athlete study halls for the athletic department.
|Title:||Assistant Coach/ Goaltending|
Carole Kinsella returns for her 13th season as the Owls' goalie coach. In addition to her field responsibilities, Kinsella plays a key off-the-field role for the team, meeting with recruits and parents on campus and handling administrative duties for the program.
Kinsella will be very busy this season, montoring the four goalies on the roster.
Under Kinsella's direction, the Owls have had two of the very best goaltenders in the history of the program come through KSC. Vikki Stoessel '09 and Sara Joyce 06' were rocks in net for the Owls during KSC's stretch of five consecutive Little East Conference Championships (2004 - 2008). Joyce and Stoessel both finished with 43 career victories, good enough for 2nd on KSC's all-time record book. Joyce, who finished number one in the NCAA in 2006 in save percentage stopping .895 percent of the shots, also finished 2nd all-time with a 1.20 goals against average in her career. Kinsella was also instrumental in the development of freshman keeper Caitlin Davion-Draper, who was named the LEC'srookie of the year in 2011.
Kinsella, a native of Scituate, Mass., played at Springfield College, where she started her junior and senior seasons for the then-powerhouse Division I program.
|College:||New England College|
After years of being the opponent, Dresser finally moved over to the home side of the field in 2011, joining the Keene State field hockey team as an assistant coach. “I’ve been around the program since I was 10 years old, so I honored to be asked by Amy (Watson),” she said.
Before KSC, Dresser’s played at Keene High, where she was named MVP of the field hockey team and was selected to play in the Twin State senior game. Dresser continued her playing career at New England College. Roaming the field as midfielder and forward, Dressler was a two-time All-Conference player for the Pilgrims and was named the Commonwealth Coast player of the year as a senior. Coached by KSC alum Susan Murray, Dresser captured four consecutive TCCC titles and NCAA tournament berths while she was there.
Dresser, who graduated from NEC with a physical education degree in 2009, spent a season working as a Pilgrim assistant before taking over as the head coach at John Stark Regional High School last year. She is currentyly working on her master's degree at KSC.
|College:||Keene State College|
A former four-year player and two-year defensive starter for the Owls, Kerry Howe joined the Keene State field hockey coaching staff as an assistant last fall.
Howe, a native of Atlantic Highlands, N.J. wrapped up her Owl career with a super senior season in 2011, being named the Little East Conference defensive player of the year. Howe finished the season with two goals, six assists and nine defensive saves. She help lead KSC to the LEC championship and the programs’ first win in the NCAA Division III tournament.
“It’s a strange transition going from a player to a coach, but I love it so far,” said Howe. “We’ve always had a strong defense. We just have to get players comfortable in new positions.
“Kerry is a great addition to our staff, she has excellent technical skills, and defensive knowledge will be focusing her efforts on improving our defensive game,” said KSC Head Coach Amy Watson.