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Owl Notebook

Owl Notebook
Who's making news in Owl Sports

Four Keene State Athletes Enter Ranks of All-Americas

The list of All-America KSC athletes lengthened by four names this fall: soccer player Jennifer Ortisi, field hockey player Tanya Strong, and cross-country runners Dave Bridgewater and Josh Ferenc.

Midfielder Ortisi (Allenstown, N.H.) capped her four-year career by being named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Division III All-America Second Team. "I was very surprised," said Ortisi, a three-time LEC and regional all-star. "It's a nice way to end my career."

‘I was very surprised,’ said Ortisi, a three-time LEC and regional all-star. ‘It’s a nice way to end my career.’Ortisi led the Owls in scoring with 11 goals, four assists, and 26 points. She completes her career fourth on KSC's all-time scoring list, with 41 goals, 24 assists, and 106 points. Ortisi is the ninth women's soccer player at Keene State to earn All-America accolades.

Strong (Hatfield, Mass.) was selected to the All-America Second Team. The senior forward rewrote the Owl field hockey record book, chalking up 30 goals, 10 assists, and 70 points. She finished her career second on the KSC all-time scoring list, with 148 points. "It was a great season," said Strong, who is the eighth field hockey player at KSC to win All-America honors. "I couldn't have asked to go out in a better way."

Bridgewater and Ferenc raced to All-America honors at the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships in Hanover, Indiana. Bridgewater (Unionville, Conn.), a junior, finished 23rd, with a time of 25:39 on the 8K course at the L.S. Ayers Athletic Complex, and Ferenc (Westmoreland, N.H.), a senior, came in 33rd, clocking in at 25:45.

"I was in a good position after 6K but didn't have a kick at the end," said Bridgewater. "But it's a nice feeling to earn All-America."

"This was my last chance to earn All-America in cross country, so I'm happy about that," added Ferenc.

It was the second All-America award for both runners, who respectively became the Owls' 37th and 38th cross country All-Americas.

Timson Joins the Thousand Point Club
Senior Chris Timson became the 23rd men's basketball player at Keene State to join the coveted Thousand Point Club when he put in a lay-up against Little East foe UMass-Boston on December 13. "I knew I was approaching 1,000; my roommates kept pestering me about it," said Timson (Beverly, Mass.). "It felt great. I never did that in high school."

Owls Defeat PSU at New Hampshire Hoops Classic
Timson added another 26 points to his career total the next day against arch rival Plymouth State University at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester. Keene State defeated PSU 86-70 in the inaugural New Hampshire Hoops Classic, a unique basketball triple-header that brought together Division I-III men's teams from across the state for the first time ever to play in the big-time venue.

This was a unique experience for our kids, getting to play in a large arena in a central location where alumni, friends, and family came to watch us play,"This was a unique experience for our kids, getting to play in a large arena in a central location where alumni, friends, and family came to watch us play," said KSC coach Rob Colbert.

"It was awesome," senior guard Bennett Pawlusiak told the Union Leader. "From the moment we walked in here, it felt like we were playing at a big college, like North Carolina."

"It was first-class the whole time," added senior guard Alphonse Michalski, who contributed 16 points to KSC's victory under the bright lights.

At KST press time, the Owls were preparing for the NCAA Tournament. As always, go to for the latest news.

New Swimming/Diving Records Set
Old KSC men's and women's swimming and diving records continue to fall into the Spaulding Gym pool. Freshman Katlin Pryor (Jaffrey, N.H.) jumped in and immediately set Owl records in the 200-yard individual medley (2:18.00) and 100-yard (1:02.33) and 200-yard (2:18.46) butterfly. Megan Humphreys (New Hartford, N.Y.) had an outstanding junior season, setting new KSC marks in the 500-yard (5:20.00) and 1,000-yard (11:00.01) freestyle. Sophomore divers Zach Hastings (Weston, Mass.) and Chris McCormick (Springfield, Mass.) also made waves in the record book. Hastings set a new one-meter diving (245.50 points) record, and a week later McCormick set the three-meter mark, with 248.60 points.

Fall Recaps
So close and yet so far away. That might sum up the feelings of three fall sports teams that came within arm's reach of NCAA Division III tournament bids but saw their goal elude them.

Field Hockey
The Owls (19-6) tied their program mark for wins and posted a perfect 10-0 Little East Conference record in the regular season, but they were upset 2-1 by third-seeded Southern Maine in the finals of the LEC Championship. The Owls claimed their first ever ECAC Tournament title, defeating Springfield College 2-1. Tanya Strong, who netted the winning goal in the championship game, was named tournament MVP.

Strong was also named LEC Offensive Player of the Year and was joined by Nichole Dallas and Kate Barnowski on the All-LEC First Team. Kaitlin Henley, Carly Sweeney, and Michelle McInerney were All-LEC Second Team selections. For the third time in six years, Coach Amy Watson was named LEC Coach of the Year.

Men's Soccer
Tied for first place in the Little East Conference regular season, the Owls (16-7-1, 5-1-1/1st LEC) came within one overtime goal of making their sixth trip to the NCAA Tournament in the past seven years. They were denied the opportunity by a tough 1-0 loss to Western Connecticut in the LEC finals.

At the ECAC Tournament the Owls kicked their way to the finals with a 6-1 win over Worcester Polytechnic Institute, a team coached by KSC alum Malcolm McPherson '75, and a 3-2 overtime victory over Plymouth State. In the championship game the Owls came up short once again with a 1-0 loss to top seed Roger Williams University.

In addition to being named to the NSCAA All-Region First Team, junior forward Jason Lombardo was the LEC Offensive Player of the Year. Junior forward Casey Banks, senior back Steve Curry, junior midfielder Joey Amaio, and Lombardo were All-LEC First Team picks. Junior midfielder John Harke and senior midfielder Justin Hickman were named to the All-LEC Second Team.

Women's Soccer
The Owls tied for the LEC regular-season title (14-6-3, 5-1 LEC) but had their NCAA hopes dashed by Eastern Connecticut in a conference title game that was decided by penalty kicks (5-3).

With a win over Nichols College (5-1), the Owls advanced to the semifinals of the ECAC tournament, where they lost to Salem State (2-0).

Keene State was well represented in postseason honors: All-America senior Jennifer Ortisi joined junior back Beth Vachon and senior forward Erin Lester on the All-LEC First Team, and freshman midfielder Tara Wagner, senior midfielder Katie Parkinson, junior back Kerri Paquette, and junior goalkeeper Michelle Mason were named to the All-LEC Second Team.

The Owls posted a 10-16 (3-4 LEC) record under first-year coach Matora Fiorey. A young squad with just one senior, Stephanie Benard, the Owls improved as the season progressed. Winning three of their last four matches, including LEC victories over UMass-Dartmouth and UMass-Boston, the Owls secured a spot in the conference's postseason tournament. They lost a tough five-game match (3-2) to Southern Maine in the opening round.

Cross Country
The men's and women's teams had strong seasons on the trails. In addition to winning the Tufts University Invitational and their fifth straight KSC Invitational, the Owl men claimed their seventh consecutive LEC/Alliance trophy. Although they could not add a fifth title to their string of four consecutive New England Regional titles, the men had enough in their tank to finish second at the meet and earn their seventh straight trip to the NCAA Championships.

The women's team finished second at the Dartmouth and Tufts meets and won their first ever KSC Invitational title. The Owls also outdistanced the field to win their fourth consecutive LEC/Alliance Championship. They finished a respectable eighth at the New England Regional meet, with senior Karen Jordan (16th place) qualifying for her second straight individual NCAA berth.