Keene State set for LEC tournaments; Host three games this week
KEENE, N.H. 11/1/10 – Owl Athletic Complex will be the place to be for Little East Conference tournament action this week with Keene State hosting three games.
The LEC post-season action begins on Tuesday when the KSC women’s soccer and field hockey teams host quarterfinal games. The third-seeded Owl women’s soccer squad (13-5-2) hosts sixth seed Plymouth State University (7-10) and the fourth seeded Keene State field hockey team (15-5) goes up against fifth-seeded Fitchburg State University (10-7). Both games begin at 6 p.m.
Men’s soccer takes center stage on Thursday (6 p.m.) when the top seeded Owls (12-4-2) take on the fourth seeded Corsairs (10-5-2) from UMass-Dartmouth.
Seeded second in the LEC volleyball tournament, Keene State (23-11) received a first-round bye and will play the winner between third-seed Plymouth State (17-12) and six-seed Rhode Island College (13-17) in a semifinal match at UMass-Boston on Friday (4 p.m.).
The Keene State women’s soccer team will be facing a familiar foe on Tuesday. The Owls and rival Panthers have hooked up five times in the tournament. KSC won first-round games in (1999, 2005, 2006 and 2009) and a semifinal contest in 2000.
Earlier this season, Keene State edged Plymouth State 1-0 on a goal by freshman Jessica Berthiaume. The Owls had a wide 15-1 advantage in shots on goals, but were unable to put away their scoring opportunities. “We always have tough games against Plymouth,” said KSC Coach Denise Lyons. “We’ll need to do a better job capitalizing on our scoring chances.”
The KSC women won the LEC championship in 2002 and 2004.
A victory by the Owls will set a semifinal game against second seed at Western Conn. on Thursday.
For the first time in four seasons the Owls won’t be the top seed in the LEC field hockey tournament. Keene State, which rolls into the tournament with a four-game winning streak, will be facing Fitchburg State in the tournament for the first time since 2000, a 2-0 first-round win by the Owls. KSC Coach Amy Watson expects a tough game against the Falcons. “They’re a good opponent and I expect a tough game,” she said. “The conference is very strong and it doesn’t matter we’re you’re seeded, you have to come ready to play.”
The Owls, who saw their streak of five consecutive tournament titles (2004-08), come to an end with a 3-2 overtime loss to UMass-Dartmouth in last year’s final, shutout Fitchburg 2-0 back on Oct. 23.
If the Owls win, they will play a semifinal game against the winner between #1 UMass-Dartmouth and #8 Salem State on Thursday.
The Keene State men’s soccer team will be facing an UMass-Dartmouth team that has been a thorn in its side the past two seasons. Last year, the Corsairs not only defeated the Owls in the regular season (1-0), but knocked them out of the tournament with a 2-1 upset overtime semifinal victory. The two teams also battled to a 1-1 tie this season.
“They dominated both games against us last season,” said KSC Coach Ron Butcher. “We won’t take them lightly this time.”
“They’re the only LEC team we lost to in the past two years,” said senior captain Luke Sisco. “We’re chomping at the bit to play them again.”
In addition to the 2-1 tournament loss last season, KSC also dropped a 1-0 overtime game to the Corsairs in a 2000 semifinal game.
The winner of Wednesday’s game will advance to the finals against the winner of the other semifinal match between #2 Eastern Conn. and #3 Rhode Island College.
Keene State is looking for its first LEC crown since 2006.
Coach Bob Weiner and his KSC women’s volleyball team will find out its opponent following Tuesday’s quarterfinal game between Plymouth State and Rhode Island College. He expects the seeds will hold. “As much as I would like to see an upset, I have a funny feeling we’ll be seeing Plymouth on Friday.” he said.
Keene State won its first LEC championship in 2008.