Set to begin her 24th season as head coach of the Keene State field hockey team, Amy Watson has set her sights on regaining the Little East Conferecne championship and returning to the NCAA tournament.
A team in transiton last season, the Owls still manged to finish with a 15-9 record and reach the finals of the conferecne tournament. In 2011, the Owls set a school record for wins (20), won the Little East Championship, and posted the program's first-ever victory in the NCAA Division III tournament.
Watson and the Owls know a thing or two about LEC titles. After capturing five straight conference crowns (2004-2008), KSC finished the 2011 season with a 20-5 record, posting a perfect 11-0 reguar season mark in the LEC on the way to defeating rival Plymouth State (2-0) for the conference crown. KSC capped its season with a NCAA first-round win (2-0) over Endicott College.
Looking to continue the string of tournament titles this year, Watson has developed the Owls into a top program in the region. Under her guidance, KSC has qualified for 11 Division III post-season appearances, including six NCAA tournament berths (1998, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011), a 2003 ECAC championship, and seven Little East Conference titles (1998, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2011).
A 1984 graduate of Springfield College, Watson enters the 2013 season with a highly respectable 319-154-11 career and 127-19 LEC record at Keene State. She reaced the 300 coaching career milestone with the Owls' 3-0 win over Framingham State in 2011.
In addition to KSC's success on the field, Watson, who has been recognized five times as the LEC Coach of the Year, is equally proud of the numerous honors bestowed on her players. During her tenure, 19 Owls have been recipients of All-America honors, including Erin Dallas and Carly Benning, who received the honor in 2009. Dallas, who made a miraculous recovery form a post-op infection, received the ECAC award of Valor as well.
In addition, 13 players have received LEC player-of-the-year honors. In 2011, the Owls swept the top honors in the LEC Elizabeth Coffin and Kerry Howe being named offensive and defensive players of the year's respectively and Davino-Draper being selected as the rookie of the year. Since joining the LEC in 1998, KSC has produced 78 All-Conference players.
Just as important are the multiple members of the team who have received national academic honors over the years. Last season, the KSC field hockey team placed 11 players on the NFHCA All-Academic team.
Watson was named the full-time coach of the Owls in the summer of 2009. Her second duty of the athletic department is to run the student-athlete study halls for the athletic department.