Little East Announces Fall All-Conference Teams


Keene State College's Jason Lombardo has the distinction of taking home men's soccer Offensive Player of the Year in the Little East Conference annual awards announced today.  Lombardo was also selected All-LEC first team along with three Owl teammates.  In addition, two Owls were named All-LEC second team. 


Lombardo, a junior from Woburn, Mass., finished second in the conference in regular-season games with 36 points on 14 goals and eight assists and led the Owls with 39 points on 15 goals and nine assists overall.  The three-time All-LEC selection, and two-time league Offensive Player of the Week, had a record tying four goals and an assist in a 5-0 victory over Eastern Conn. State University earlier this season and scored on a penalty kick in KSC's 2-0 win over Rhode Island College in the LEC semifinal tournament.  The Owls, making their fourth appearance in the LEC championship game, lost to Western Conn. State University 1-0 in overtime. 


Junior forward Casey Banks (Westborough, Mass.), junior midfielder Joey Amaio (Wethersfield, Conn.), and senior back Steve Curry (East Lyme, Conn.) were named to the LEC first team.  Banks, second in scoring for the Owls with 11 goals and 13 assists, is a three-time LEC selection.  Amaio earns his first LEC selection, while Curry receives his second.


Junior midfielder John Harke (Leeds, Mass.) and senior midfielder Justin Hickman (Mont Vernon, N.H.) earned second team All-LEC honors. 


Keene State (14-6-1) earned a Division III ECAC tournament bid and will host Worcester Polytechnic Institute on Wednesday (6:30 p.m.).     



The Keene State College women's soccer team, who shared the regular season title with Eastern Connecticut State University, faired well today in the Little East Conference annual awards. Jennifer Ortisi, Erin Lester, and Beth Vachon were named to All-LEC first team, while four Owl teammates were named All-LEC second team. 


Ortisi, a senior midfielder from Allenstown, N.H., led the Owls in scoring with 10 goals and three assists.  A three-time All-LEC selection, Ortisi netted two goals in a span of 1:38 to lead the Owls to a 3-0 victory over Western Conn. State University to advance to the LEC championship game, where KSC was defeated 1-0 by Eastern Conn. State University.


Lester, a senior forward from Walpole, N.H., and last year's offensive player of the year, was second in scoring for the Owls with eight goals and three assist.  Nicole Corbin, a sophomore forward out of Western Conn. State was named 2003 Offensive Player of the Year. 


Vachon, a back from Amherst, N.H., anchored the KSC defense that surrendered just three goals in conference regular-season play.  She was pivotal in the Owls regular season title not only with big defensive plays, but also in scoring, making three goals and five assists.  She was named 2002 Defensive Player of the Year.


Joining Ortisi, Lester, and Vachon with All-LEC nods, are All-LEC second team recipients, freshman midfielder Tara Wagner (Avon, Conn.), senior midfielder Katie Parkinson (South Kingstown, RI), junior back Kerri Paquette (Millbury, Mass.), and junior goalkeeper Michelle Mason (Fairport, N.Y.). 


Wagner and Mason earned LEC honors twice this year in rookie of the week and defensive player of the week, respectively.  Wagner had a team-leading nine assists, while Mason's play included a .877 goals against average and 10 shutouts. 


Keene State (13-5-3) earned a postseason bid in the Division III ECAC championship tournament and will host Nichols College on Wednesday (4:00 p.m.).



The Keene State College field hockey team was well represented in the LEC annual awards announced today.  Senior Tanya Strong was named Offensive Player of the Year and All-LEC first team, and Amy Watson was named the Conference's coach of the year.  In addition, five Owls were adorned the list of LEC All-Conference selections. 


Strong, a native of Hatfield, Mass., led the conference and established single-season school records of 25 goals and 56 points.  Her efforts helped KSC capture the regular season title with a perfect 10-0 mark and posted a 15-5 ledger overall.  It's the second time that the Owls have been undefeated in conference play since its inception in 1998. 


"It's awesome to have been named Offensive Player of the Year," said Strong.  "It's definitely a good way to end my career."


Strong led the Owls with two goals and two assist in a 6-0 LEC semifinal victory over Bridgewater State College to advance to its fourth LEC championship game KSC was upset 3-1 by third-seed University of Southern Maine. 


Watson, in her 14th season, earned LEC coaching honors for the third time in six years.  She led the Owls to the regular-season title, three ECAC Division III Championship appearances, two Little East Conference titles, and, in 1998, the program's first berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament. 


"It's obviously a great honor, but it's more a reflection on the players," said Coach Watson.  I only wish we could have captured the conference championship."


Joining Strong on the All-LEC first team are teammates, senior backs Nichole Dallas (Marlow, N.H.) and Kate Barnowski (Granville, Mass.). Dallas, 2002 LEC Defensive Player of the Year, has a team-leading five defensive saves and ranks third in scoring for the Owls with eight goals and eight assists.  Barnowski added three goals, two assists, and three defensive saves. 


Junior forward Kaitlin Henley (Somers, N.Y.), senior midfielder Carly Sweeney (Gardner, Mass.), and sophomore midfielder Michelle McInerney (Hampton, N.H.) were All-LEC second team selections.


Keene State (15-5) earned a Division III ECAC tournament bid and will host Becker College on Wednesday (4:30 p.m.)