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Two Owl Teams Win NCAA Tournament Berths

KEENE, N.H., 11/10/09 - Keene State field hockey and women’s volleyball teams will hit the road for their opening-round NCAA Division III tournament games.

The Keene State field hockey team will face a familiar foe when it travels to Springfield College on Wednesday to take on the Pride. The game at SC’s Brock- Affleck Field will begin at 6 p.m. The Owl women’s volleyball team has drawn Williams College for its first-round opponent. The Owls will play the Ephs at Tufts University on Thursday in a match scheduled for 1 p.m.

The Owls captured their fifth straight Little East Conference field hockey championship on Saturday with a 4-0 win over rival Plymouth State. KSC also won LEC titles in 1998 and 1999. Junior midfielder Erin Dallas, who was named the tournament’s MVP, had a pair of goals and an assist in the finals.

Springfield College (15-6) claimed its fifth-straight New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) crown on Sunday afternoon with a 2-1 win over Wellesley College.

“Considering the tough teams we’ve faced in the first-round over the years, I think Springfield was a good draw for us,” said KSC Coach Amy Watson. “We usually match up pretty well with them, but they’re tough to beat down there. On the positive side, it’s a team we’re certainly familiar with, and they are right down the road. There are no easy opponents in the NCAA tournament, but I’m sure the team would like to get the monkey off their back and win an opening-round game for the first time.”

Earlier this season, KSC edged Springfield on a late-second-half goal by junior forward Carly Benning. KSC junior goalie Vikki Stoessel made nine saves in the game.

Last season, Keene State dropped a first-round game to William Smith College (2-1).

The Keene State women’s volleyball ball team will be facing Williams College for the first time on the court. The Owls (29-8) won a five-game cliffhanger over UMass-Boston 3-2 (30-28, 21-25, 25-22, 17-25, and 17-15) to win their first-ever LEC championship on Saturday. Facing a 7-1 deficit in the fifth and deciding game, the Owls rallied to pull off the dramatic victory.

The Williams College volleyball team (25-12) rode a late-season nine-match winning streak all the way to a NESCAC championship Sunday afternoon. For the second straight year, the Ephs defeated Amherst for the title in a thrilling 3-1 (25-18, 20-25, 25-12, 25-21) match.

“There’s no question that Williams is a very tough first-round match for us, but so are the other top five teams in the draw,” said KSC Coach Bob Weiner. “Williams presents some interesting problems. They are a very good blocking team, and we just have to expect the ball will come back at us. Also, they spread their offense around, so we won’t be able to focus on one or two players. On the other hand, they’re going to have to figure out how to play us.”

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