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Owl Notebook - Winter 2003 Owl Notebook Header

Who's Making News in Owl Sports

Some of the Best Ever
A chance to honor and reminisce. An opportunity to laugh and even shed a few tears. Keene State College's 2002 Alumni-Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony last October will be remembered for many reasons.

In the 15th ceremony since the Hall of Fame was established in 1986, inductees Patricia Rauch Harper '87, basketball; Tom Anderson '88, cross country and track; Trevor Franklin '79, soccer; the late John Jennings '89, basketball; and the 1982 women's gymnastics team were honored not only for their accomplishments while wearing Owl uniforms, but also for the drive and determination that made them champions away from their field of play.

Some of the Best Ever continued...

Women's Soccer Team wins LEC Championship

Owl Soccer Teams Earn NCAA Berths
For the first time since joining the Little East Conference in 1997, both the KSC men's and women's soccer teams captured their respective tournament championships and automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament in the same season.

The teams took different paths to their titles. Finishing with a 20-3-1 record and giving up just one goal in a undefeated (7-0) conference season, the women's soccer team rolled to its first outright regular-season and tournament championship. The Owl men's team (13-5-3, 4-1-2 /LEC) did it the hard way. Placing third in the LEC regular season, KSC won two dramatic road tournament games to capture its third LEC title.

The Owl women dispatched Rhode Island College (3-1) in a semifinal game and posted a dramatic come-from-behind 3-2 win over long-time nemesis Western Connecticut in the championship. KSC Coach Denise Lyons '90 called it the greatest victory of her coaching career. "I've been to the NCAA finals as a player, but this is the sweetest win of my career," she said after the Owls beat WCSU, a team that had defeated KSC in the three previous finals.

Moving on to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in four years, Keene State won a rained-soaked 1-0 game against Tufts University before ending its season with a 3-1 loss to top seed Wheaton College in the New England Regional Championship.

Setting a school record for wins in a season (20) and consecutive victories (11), the Owls took home their share of LEC hardware after the season. Erin Lester, who led the conference in scoring (18-11-47) and fleet-footed sophomore Beth Vachon were named offensive and defensive players of the year respectively, while Lyons won the coaches' award for the fourth time in the past six seasons.

A talented but underachieving Keene State men's soccer team found the winning formula when it needed the most – at tournament time. Playing on a cold and frozen field at Plymouth State, the Owls outlasted rival PSC in the semifinals. With the game knotted 1-1 after regulation and two overtimes, KSC advanced 5-3 on penalty kicks. The Owls defended their LEC title with a 1-0 win over top seed Western Connecticut in the championship. Casey Banks, who scored the game's lone goal, and goalie D.J. Nordmark, who made two tremendous point-blank break-away saves, played the role of heroes in the upset win.

Hosting the NCAA New England Regional tournament, the Owls lost a heart-breaking 1-0 game to Arcadia University in the semifinals. "This team battled adversity all season and found a way to make it to the tournament," said KSC Coach Ron Butcher. "It was a difficult way to end the season."

Women Win Third Straight LEC Swim Championship
For the third year in a row the Little East Conference women's swimming championship belongs to Keene State College. The Owls, who have won the title every year it has been contested, finished with 475 points to edge runner-up and host UMass-Dartmouth, which finished with 458 points.

"I knew it was going to be a very close meet," said KSC Coach Gene Leonard. "We got some outstanding performances that enabled us to pull out the victory."

Keene State won 11 of 16 events and set six meet records at the championship, which was decided by the Owls' victory in the 400-yard freestyle relay, the final event. Junior Lisa Wandeloski led the way with first-place finishes in the 50 and 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly races.

The KSC women are expected to be among the top competitors for the New England Division II-III Championship, which will take place at Bentley College in late February. KSC won the title in 2000-01.

A young Keene State men's swim team continues to improve as it acquires valuable meet experience. Captain Chris Woolridge, a mid and distance freestyle specialist from Keene, leads the list of veterans, which also includes senior Jeff Sullivan (freestyle and breast stroke) and sophomores Michael Steurer (freestyle and backstroke) and Mike Mulholland (freestyle).

Several newcomers have made an immediate splash, including John West and Scott Seligman, along with divers Chris McCormick and Zach Hastings.

Hoop Teams Open with Tournament Wins
The KSC men's and women's basketball teams began their 2002-03 campaigns in fine fashion by capturing their own opening season tournaments. The Owl men topped Curry College (82-46) with Derek Swenson earning MVP honors. Tournament MVP Julie Tardif had 21 points to lead the Owl women to a 79-56 victory over Western New England in the title game of the KSC Holiday Classic.

All indications point to another strong campaign for the Keene State men's team. Returning to the court following a record-breaking season, which included a program-best 23 victories, a 17-game winning streak, and a berth in the ECAC Tournament, the Owls are picked third in this year's LEC pre-season poll.

In addition to Swenson, fourth-year head coach Rob Colbert is looking for top returning scorer Chris Timson to carry the offensive load this season. Back from an injury-plagued season, Kyle Purinton, along with Brandon Johanson and Matthew Wheeler will be KSC's main men on the boards. Bennett Pawlusiak and Alphonse Michalski give the team two quality point guards. Among the newcomers, Sean Sullivan and Adam Gervais are expected to make an immediate contribution.

The Owls will play in the Grand Canyon Classic in Phoenix, Ariz., during the semester break.

Improving every season since joining the Little East, the women's basketball team continued its progress last year with a 17-11 (8-6 /4th LEC) record. The Owls advanced to the semifinal round of the conference tournament and earned their first post-season berth since the 1992-93 season.

If KSC hopes to continue that positive trend this year it will have to do it with a revamped line-up. Beginning his 14th season as head coach, Keith Boucher will rely heavily on veterans Hayley Alaimo, Andrea Arsenault, and Cathy Mechare for production and leadership. Other veterans include twin sisters Courtney and Shannon Clarke, along with Julie Tardif.

Boucher also hopes that several of his 10 freshmen can help out. Stacey Morse, Bekka Hopkins, Elizabeth Donnelly, and Mary Crawford have all made a positive first impression with the team.

Stacey Parr Volleyball Team on the Rise
The Keene State women's volleyball team reached new heights during its 2002 season. A school-record nine-match winning streak late in the season helped the Owls post their best record (15-7, 4-3/4th LEC) since 1983. Securing a first-ever home conference tournament game, KSC defeated Rhode Island College (3-0) before losing a semifinal match (3-2) to top seed Western Conn. The first KSC player to earn a major conference volleyball award, Stacy Parr was selected as the LEC's co-defensive player of the year and a first team all-star. Leading the conference in hitting percentage (.363), middle-hitter Deborah Hughes and outside hitter Kristen Mullins were named second-team All-LEC selections.

Owl Track Teams Set to Run
Both Keene State indoor track teams should be in the running for the LEC Championships and for regional and national honors this season.

The men's team will once again rely on its strong stable of runners from their national-caliber cross country squad, which includes Mark Miller, Josh Ferenc, Dave Raymond and Dave Bridgewater. Miller is a three-time national champion in the 1,500 meters. Ferenc earned All-America honors (10,000 meters) last spring, while Raymond (5,000 meters) and Bridgewater (1,500 meters) were LEC champions in their respective events.

Finishing a program-best third at the New England Division III Indoor Championship last season, the Owl women continue to be recognized as an up-and-coming regional team with national-caliber athletes.

Mary Proulx not only claimed her third and fourth national titles with victories in the 5,000- and 10,00-meter races last spring, but she also earned All-America honors with her 3rd-place finish in the 5,000 indoors. Teaming up with Ellen Histen, Laurie Yorgensen and Stephanie Gibson, Proulx also ran the anchor leg of the DMR, which placed eighth and earned All-America honors. Nicole Geyselears ran and jumped her way into the KSC record book with her performances in the long jump, triple jump and 55-meter dash.

Proulx and Raymond Named Cross Country All-Americas
Running without top runner Mark Miller, who missed the race due to sickness, the KSC men's cross country team finished a disappointing 12th at this year's NCAA Division III Championship at St. Olaf College.

"The team didn't respond very well after hearing the news about Mark," said KSC Coach Peter Thomas. "But they should have run better than they did."

Mary Proulx and Dave RaymondMary Proulx did provide Keene State with some good news. The senior from Ashland, N.H., earned her third All-America honor with a fourth-place finish, covering the 6K course in a time of 21:28.

Making their sixth consecutive trip to the nationals, the Owl men finished with 341 points. Dave Raymond was the Owls' top finisher. The sophomore from Princeton, Mass., earned his first All-America honor with his 17th-place effort (25:35) on the 8K course. Josh Ferenc was farther down the pack at 66th place (26:02). Dave Bridgewater (102nd/26:27), Paul Phelps (106th/26:28), and Casey Cole (181st/27:26) rounded out the Owls' top-five finishes.

In addition to Proulx, Karen Jordan was also running in the women's race. Making her first appearance at the nationals, the junior from Enfield, N.H., finished 126th overall with a time of 23:29.

During the season, the KSC men captured their sixth straight LEC title and fourth consecutive regional championship. The Owl women won the LEC meet for the third straight year and finished a program-best sixth at the regional championships, missing a team trip to the nationals by just 10 points.

Field Hockey Team Returns to Post-Season
Completing its season with a 15-9 (8-2 , 2nd LEC) record, the Keene State field hockey team returned to post season play after a years absence. Seeded second in the LEC Tournament, KSC blanked UMass-Dartmouth (5-0) in the opening round before falling to Southern Maine (1-0) in the semifinals. Earning a berth in the ECAC Tournament, Keene State edged Babson College (2-1) in the quarterfinals and lost 2-1 to top seed Clark University in the second round. Following the season, defensive standout Nichole Dallas was selected as a first-team NFHCAA All-America. Annie Timson, the conference's top scorer with 16 goals and 35 points, was named offensive player of the year while Dallas was honored as the LEC's top defender.

Dates to Remember
Be sure to save Saturday, Feb. 15, on your KSC calendar for Athletic/Alumni Recognition Day at Spaulding Gym, when the KSC men's and women's basketball teams will tap off against LEC rival Western Conn. The women's game begins at 1 p.m., followed by the men's game at 3 p.m. All Keene State athletic alumni in attendance will be introduced during halftime of the men's game. A hospitality room will be open for alums and friends during halftime of the women's contest and between games.

Friday, June 6, is the date of the annual KSC Golf Tournament. The tournament will be held once again at Bretwood Course in Keene. You can make reservations by calling the athletic department at 603-358-2813.