Keene State fall athletic season just around the corner
KEENE, N.H. 8/20/12 – Certain signs indicate that the summer season is coming to a close and fall is right around the corner. At Keene State College, one of those signs is the return of fall student athletes, who began their preseason camps on Monday.
Keene State men's and women's soccer and cross country teams as well as women's field hockey and volleyball squads hope their hard work during the preseason leads to Little East championships and NCAA berths.
All five fall Owl teams begin their respective seasons on Sat., Sept. 1, with four of the five teams serving as hosts. The Keene State men's soccer team kicks off its season by hosting the Xara Classic. The tournament, which has predetermined opponents, has the Owls playing Nichols College on Saturday (2:30 p.m.) and Brandeis University on Sunday (2 p.m.). Other schedule highlights include a rematch with defending LEC champs Eastern Conn. on Sat., Oct. 6.
Keene State senior captain Blake Nyman says the team must take it one game at a time. "Obviously, all our conference games are important, but coach (Ron) Butcher told us to take it one game at a time this year," said Nyman. "You get in trouble if you look too far down the road."
The defending LEC champion Keene State field hockey team opens up with a home game against Western New England College (1:30 p.m.) while the women's volleyball squad has a tri-match with Endicott College (2 p.m.) and Wellesley College (6 p.m.).
Scrutinizing his early season schedule, Owl volleyball coach Bob Weiner feels his opening season match against Endicott will give him an indication where his team stands. "We're opening up against two top-ten teams, and I think the Endicott match is going to be an early indicator because they're young as well," said Weiner. "They have a freshman setter just like us, a great coach, and a strong team."
Meanwhile, women's field hockey coach Amy Watson has her eyes set on her team's first road contest against Springfield College on September 5. "Springfield College is usually that game early in the season that we use to gauge where we're at," said Watson. "We know for the most part that they're going to put out a pretty strong squad. It's usually an evenly played match and a good marker for us."
Owl cross country teams will hit the ground running with their annual KSC Invitational (11 a.m.) on Sept. 1. The race gives current Keene State runners an opportunity to see how they measure up against a strong field that includes several Owl alumni All-Americans. "The alumni meet is always exciting," said senior Andrew Sears. "The alums have had our number the past few years, so we're hoping to change that this season."
The Keene State women's cross country team, which has captured the LEC championship 12 straight years, had its first practice run on Monday. While senior captain Maggie Fitter said it was a good first showing, there was one mishap on the trails when Cara Colotti, a freshman from Londonderry, got lost. "I went straight when I should've turned," said Coletti. "But luckily I have a great team behind me and they found me."
The Keene State women's soccer team is on the road for an opening season tournament at Plattsburgh (N.Y.) State. The Owls play Lyndon State in a first-round game on Saturday (1:30 p.m.). Senior captain Brittany Croteau says she is looking forward to matches against Eastern Conn. on Oct. 6 and Amherst College on Oct. 17. "We always have a good battle with Amherst, and Eastern Conn. is a big rival that always ends up knocking us out of the LEC tournament, so I really want to push hard to beat them this year." The team's first home game is Wed., Sept. 5, against Westfield State (6:30 p.m.)
All of the Keene State fall schedules can be seen at keeneowls.com