PAWTUCKET, R.I.--The Little East Conference has announced that Keene State College standouts Joe Branciforte '04 and Michelle Mason '05 have been selected for the Little East Conference Hall of Fame.
Branciforte and Mason become the eighth and ninth inductees from Keene State to the LEC Hall of Fame, joining Dr. Ron Butcher, Chris Coates '04, Erin Dallas '10, Carrah Fisk Hennessey '99, Meghan McLoughlin '05, Mark Miller '03, and Mary Proulx '03. They will be honored at the Keene State Hall of Fame ceremonies on Friday, September 20, in the Mabel Brown Room. Tickets can be purchased here: https://keene.universitytickets.com/w/event.aspx?id=1420&r=5235069cea5e4c23b3133741881102a8
Joe Branciforte was a four-year standout in men's lacrosse for Keene State College from 2001-04, helping lay the foundation for the program to become a dominant force in the Little East Conference (LEC). He was a three-time all-conference selection for the Owls, and was named the 2004 LEC Offensive Player of the Year.
Branciforte earned First Team All-Conference honors for the first time as a sophomore after leading the Owls in scoring with 47 goals and 19 assists for 66 points. He was named the LEC Offensive Player of the Year and a First Team All-LEC selection as a senior, which saw him total 38 goals and 19 assists for 57 points while being limited to 11 games played in his final collegiate season.
The Owls amassed a record of 37-25 over Branciforte's four seasons, and advanced to the LEC titles game his junior and senior years; those were the first two LEC final appearances in program history. KSC qualified for the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) tournament his sophomore through senior seasons, and advanced to the tournament final in 2004.
The attackman totaled 125 goals and 74 assists for 199 points over his 50 career games played His 34 assists as a junior established a new program record, and currently rank him fifth in program history.
Branciforte earned his bachelor's degree in communications from Keene State in 2004. He became the first player in program history to be inducted into the Keene State Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013.
Michelle Mason rewrote the women's lacrosse and women's soccer record books during her four years at Keene State College.
Mason started in goal during each of her four soccer seasons, and to-date still owns the program records for most wins (67), saves (438), shutouts (43) and games played (94), and is among the all-time leaders in GAA (fifth, 0.98) and save percentage (fifth, .826). She earned All-LEC honors in each of her four seasons, garnering First Team honors her freshman, sophomore and senior seasons. Mason was a three-time New England Women's Intercollegiate Soccer Association All-New England selection, and was named All-Region by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America as a senior.
Keene State advanced to the LEC title match in each of Mason's four seasons between the pipes. The Owls claimed their first-ever LEC title in 2002 and won their second in 2004. Both teams went on to the NCAA tournament, with the 2002 squad advancing to the Sweet 16 while winning a program-record 20 matches.
Mason earned the decision in each of those program-record 20 wins in 2002. Her then program record 119 saves in 2001 are now third-most at KSC, while her 13 shutouts that year are still second-most in a season.
As an attack on the lacrosse field, Mason was one of the most prolific scorers in LEC history, piling up then program record totals of 202 goals and 82 assists for 284 total points over her three seasons. Her 202 career goals remain the most in program history; she now ranks second in points and third in assists.
She was named the 2002 LEC Rookie of the Year and earned the first of her three First Team All-Conference awards after putting up then-program record totals of 68 goals, 34 assists and 102 total points. Her 102 points are still the program's single season standard, as are her 70 goals scored during her senior campaign.
The Owls qualified for the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) tournament in each of her three seasons, and captured the 2004 title with a 17-16 overtime win over LEC-rival Eastern Connecticut. Mason was named the tournament MVP for her efforts that postseason, which included her scoring nine goals in the final, including the game-winner in overtime.
Mason began her women's lacrosse coaching career as an assistant at KSC before taking the reins of the program from 2007-08. The Owls were 21-14 during those two seasons before she departed to become the head coach at Division I Iona College, where she completed her 11th season leading the Gaels in 2019.
Mason earned her bachelor's degree in geography from Keene State in 2005. She was inducted into the Keene State Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012.
(Portions of this release courtesy the LEC Office)