Owls Set For Massive Matchup With No. 2 Middlebury

Owls Set For Massive Matchup With No. 2 Middlebury

KEENE, N.H.--After Wednesday's thrilling 4-3 win over New Paltz in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, it's on to the second round for the Keene State College field hockey team.  The Owls will take on nationally ranked No. 2 Middlebury College on Saturday, November 10, at 11 a.m.

The Teams

The Owls (18-6) are back in the second round of the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in the last year.   Keene State reached the second round courtesy of a stirring comeback over New Paltz State in the first round of the tournament.  Keene State was down 3-1 at halftime, but used goals from Nina Bruno, Kelsey Roberts, and Julia Babbitt to complete the rally.    Middlebury (17-1) is the defending national champion and received a bye into the second round of the tournament.

The Coaches

KSC head coach Amy Watson is in her 28th season on the KSC bench, and has led the Owls to LEC titles in 1998, 1999, 2004-08, 2011, and 2013-18.  Keene State has never faced Middlebury in the NCAA tournament.   Middlebury is led by Katharine DeLorenzo, in her 18th season with the program.   Under her watch, the Panthers have reached the NCAA championship game six times, including victories in 2015 and 2017.

The Leaders

The Owls' offense features top scorers Nina Bruno (32 goals, 10 assists, 74 points), who continues her assault on some of KSC's biggest scoring marks as a sophomore.  Classmate Kayla Klein (24-3-51), senior Julia Babbitt (12-10-34), junior Ally McCall (3-14-20), senior Erica Stauffer (6-7-19), and junior Kelsey Roberts (7-2-16) all supply goals as well.  Junior Hailey Beaupre (seven defensive saves) leads the backline in front of sophomore goalie Rachel Loseby (1.92 GAA, .732 save percentage).

The Panthers lead from the back, as sophomore defender Erin Nicholas (12-9-33) is Midd's top scorer, along with senior Grace Jennings (11-5-27), sophomore Danielle Brown (10-1-21), junior Emma Johns (7-5-19), junior Marissa Baker (8-2-18), senior Molly Freeman (8-2-18), and sophomore Isabel Chandler (3-4-10).  Senior Megan Collins has started every game in goal and has a miniscule 0.95 goals against average and six shutouts.

The Earlier Matchup

This is the first meeting between these two teams.   Keene State and Middlebury had five opponents in common this season; Castleton, the University of New England, Williams, Trinity, and Amherst.   

The Rest of the Tournament

The winner of this match faces either No. 7 The College of New Jersey or No. 6 Vassar College on Sunday with a spot in the semifinals on the line.