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Owl Soccer Teams Earn First-Round Byes in NCAA Tournament

KEENE, N.H. 11/11/02 - After winning dramatic victories in their respective Little East Conference Tournament Championship games, the Keene State College mens and womens soccer teams were rewarded with first-round byes by the NCAA Division III Tournament Committee Sunday night.

The KSC mens team will host the New England Regional Tournament this weekend. Were really excited that were going to get a chance to host, said KSC Coach Ron Butcher. You dont get an opportunity to do that too often. It should be exciting playing in front of our fans.

The regional tournament is set for Saturday and Sunday at Owl Stadium Complex. The Owls (12-4-4) will take on Arcadia College (19-3) of Glenside, Pa., in Saturdays first game at 11 a.m. Defending Division III champs Richard Stockton College of Ponoma, N.J., (18-4) will meet the winner of Wednesdays match between Williams College (14-3) and Salve Regina University of Newport, R.I., in the second game at 1:30 p.m. The championship game will be played Sunday at 1 p.m.

I really dont know much about Arcadia, Butcher admitted. They appear to be a high scoring machine, so that concerns me. But once you get past the opening round there are no easy draws.

This will be the Owls fifth trip to the NCAAs in the last six years. The KSC men last hosted an NCAA Tournament game in 1995 as a Div. II member when they lost 3-0 to N.Y. Tech.

The KSC womens soccer team (19-2-1) will head to Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., for their regional tournament. They will face the winner of Wednesdays Tufts/Nichols College game on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. In the other semifinal game, host Wheaton (20-1), who beat Keene State 2-1 earlier this season, will take on the winner of the Bridgewater State/Western New England College game at 11 a.m. The title game will be played Sunday at 1 p.m.

I thinking getting a bye was a reward for what we did during the season, said KSC Coach Denise Lyons. It gives us a time to rest and regroup and get ready for the next round.

Tufts has the experience of going to the nationals in the past, they know what its like, she added. They are the favorites, so thats who I think well see in the next round.

KSCs 19 victories ties the season record set last season. The Owls have also won 10 straight, tying a mark set in 1990.

A perennial NCAA tournament team during its Division II days, Keene State will be making its second trip to the Championships since joining Division III in 1997. The Owls lost an opening round game to Colby College (5-1) in 1998.

Tickets for the mens tournament at KSC are $6 for adults, $3 for students with KSC ID and seniors, and $2 for children 12 and younger.

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