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Owl Field Hockey and Men's Soccer Teams Receive NCAA Tournament Berths

KEENE, N.H. 11/7/05 - Keene State College field hockey and men’s soccer teams received berths to their respective NCAA Division III championship tournaments on Monday.

The Owl field hockey team garnered its berth by capturing the Little East Conference championship with a 1-0 penalty stroke victory over Westfield State. The KSC men’s soccer team, which was upset in the semifinals of the LEC Tournament, received an at-large bid to the tournament.

The Owl field hockey team travels to Ewing, New Jersey, on Wednesday to take on powerhouse College of New Jersey in a 2 p.m. game. The KSC men’s soccer team goes to Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., on Saturday for a second-round game against Wheaton College (1:30 p.m.).

The Keene State field hockey team (14-8) will be making its fourth overall appearance in the NCAA championship. The Owls played in the 1983 Division II tournament, and went to the Division III championships in 1998 and 2004. In 1983, KSC defeated Bentley College 1-0 before falling to Bloomsburg (Pa.) University 2-1 in the regional finals. Keene State has yet to advance to the second round in Division III. The 1998 squad dropped a first-round game to College of New Jersey (2-0), while last year’s team was upset by Maine- Farmington (3-2) in a double-overtime game played at Owl Athletic Complex.

Keene State will be playing a strong College of New Jersey team (14-4) that has won nine NCAA titles and will be making its 25th appearance in the championship.

“It’s obviously a tough draw for us, but most of the teams from the New England region are also on the road,” said KSC Coach Amy Watson. “Playing a team like the College of New Jersey will be a huge challenge for us. We’ve already played six of the teams that reached the tournament, so we’re hoping the experience of playing a tough schedule will help us.”

The winner of Wednesday’s game will face Bowdoin (Me.) College on Saturday.

The Keene State men’s soccer team (12-3-3) will be making its seventh trip to the NCAA Division III championship in the past nine years. The Owls, who lost a first- round game (2-1) to Wheaton in 1997, advanced to the second round in 1999, 2002, and last year when they lost to Geneseo (N.Y.) State 3-2.

“With all the upsets in conference tournaments, I was surprised we got in,” said KSC Coach Ron Butcher. “I think our strength of schedule and the additional at-large bids helped us.”

Wheaton (13-4-2) returns to the tournament for the third successive season and fifth time in the last six years. The Lyons, who won their fifth NEWMAC title on Saturday, enters the championship on an eight-game unbeaten streak.

“They’re a much different team that the one we beat 2-1 earlier this season,” Butcher said. “A lot of egos got fractured with our loss in the conference tournament, so hopefully we can regroup and play well.”

Host Williams College will face Worcester State in the other semifinal game on Saturday. The two semifinals winners will meet on Sunday (1 p.m.).

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Keene, New Hampshire 03435