THE KEENE STATE COLLEGE MAGAZINE FOR ALUMNI AND FRIENDS VOLUME XX NUMBER 2 Winter 2005
  
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Owls Claim Five Little East Titles

Quite simply, it was the best overall fall athletic season in the history of Keene State College. What else can you say about an autumn that brought five Little East Conference championships (men's and women's soccer and cross country, plus field hockey) and four NCAA tournament berths to Keene State?

"Only one other school in the division sent more team sports to the NCAA championships than Keene State, and we were the only public institution to do that," said KSC Athletic Director John Ratliff.

A veteran team that relied heavily on a core of six seniors, the Keene State men's soccer team posted a 16-4-1 (7-0 LEC) record. The Owls demonstrated they could play with the region's best, knocking off national powers Wheaton, Williams, and Middlebury colleges along the way. Their fourth LEC championship in hand, the Owls advanced to the NCAAs for the sixth time in the past eight years. The Owls' season came to end with a tough second-round loss to Geneseo State.

Tara Wagner photo by Bill Gnade Kaitlin Henley photo

An opportunistic Keene State women's soccer team (14-6-2, 6-0-1 LEC) secured its LEC championship by rising to the occasion during conference play this season. None of the wins was bigger than the 3-2 road victory against defending champ Eastern Connecticut, bringing the LEC tournament to Keene. After securing the LEC crown, KSC's magic ran out in a second-round NCAA loss to Middlebury.

The KSC field hockey team (14-8/ 8-1 LEC) also came up big in Little East play to gain the top seed and home field for the conference tournament. The LEC champion Owls netted their second NCAA Division III tournament appearance. Despite falling to Maine-Farmington (3-2) in double overtime, the Owls proved that heart and determination can go a long way.

In cross country, the women's team raced to its fifth consecutive LEC championship and placed a respectable 11th at the New England Regional meet. Facing an uphill battle due to injuries, the men's team still managed to claim its eighth straight LEC championship and place third at the New England Regionals.

Senior runner Dave Bridgewater put the capstone on his KSC cross country career by racing to his second straight All-America honor at the NCAA Division III championship in Colfax, Wisc. He became the 12th Owl men's runner to earn two or more All-America awards at the national meet.

For up-to-date scores, schedules, and other features, go to www.keene.edu/athletics.

Stephanie Gibson photo by Brian Parda.