Field Hockey: Greenfield’s Roberts impresses during senior season at Keene State

  • Greenfield’s Kelsey Roberts carries the ball past a defender during action for the Keene State field hockey team this fall. The senior forward scored 10 goals and dished out 11 assists in her final season with the Owls. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/KEENE STATE ATHLETICS

Staff Writer
Published: 11/29/2019 10:02:31 PM
Modified: 12/1/2019 4:30:47 PM

Kelsey Roberts’ collegiate field hockey career was filled with both team and individual successes.

The Greenfield native capped her time with the Keene State College program earlier this month, when the Owls were defeated in the finals of the Little East Conference tournament by Worcester State. The loss snapped a six-year LEC title streak for the program, the only time in Roberts’ four-year career that she did not play in the NCAA Division 3 Tournament.

“I remember I was talking to my coach after the game and I was like, ‘Wow, it’s over now,’” said Roberts of the LEC final defeat. “It happens so fast. We made history with six (titles in a row). It would’ve been absolutely amazing to get to seven. But I’m so happy that I got to experience winning throughout my time. I got to have so many cool experiences playing field hockey in my four years here.”

The Owls finished 15-8 overall during Roberts’ senior year. While the team was right in the mix again, the forward also had the best individual season of her career in 2019. She scored 10 goals and notched 11 assists, finishing third on the team in scoring. Roberts started all 23 games, and scored multiple goals on four different occasions.

“Going from my freshman year to this year, I feel like I’ve gained so much confidence in myself and I think that reflected in my play,” she said. “I had to work really hard for my position. The college game is so much faster. It’s a completely different game (from high school). I had to transition and that took awhile. It’s also very intimidating coming into a college team.”

Roberts graduated from Greenfield High School in 2016 after a standout career with the Green Wave program. GHS head coach Erin Thayer said she knew early on that Roberts had a future in the sport.

“I called her my bull,” began Thayer, who said Roberts will be inducted into the Greenfield High School Field Hockey Hall of Fame during the team’s annual banquet on Jan. 15. “She got the ball on that forward line and was just going to the net, barreling her way up, through and into the goal. She was a great player who had the skills and the drive to do well.”

Roberts certainly improved during her tenure at Keene State. Her minutes progressed throughout her career, and she came through in the clutch on numerous occasions. Perhaps her biggest collegiate goal came during the 2018 NCAA Tournament against SUNY-New Paltz, when she notched the game-tying marker. Keene State ultimately won the game, 4-3, advancing to play eventual national champion Middlebury College. While the Owls were eliminated in that second-round game, Roberts said the experience of playing on the big stage was one of her top collegiate highlights.

“Just to play against schools like that, it’s really cool,” she said.

Roberts said she has no regrets in choosing Keene State. The biology major is set to graduate next spring, and plans to eventually attend graduate school.

“I’m so happy that this is where I ended up,” she said. “I don’t have enough good things to say about it. I remember being really stressed out about the decision but it all worked out in the end for me.”

Roberts finished her career with 21 goals and 15 assists. She saw time defensively early in her collegiate career, but rose to the occasion this season when she was inserted as a starting forward.

“We had a very, very close-knit team,” she said. “I’m lucky. We made a lot of adjustments to get the chemistry where it needed to be and we improved a lot.”

As for her future with field hockey, Roberts said she’ll always be a fan of the sport that has given her so much.

“I’ll definitely always be a supporter for the rest of my life with Greenfield and Keene,” she said. “The things that both programs did for me for my life... it’s crazy how much it’s impacted my life today. Field hockey gave me my friends, taught me so many lessons, responsibility. I’m kind of planning on letting my body rest and heal for awhile now. I’ve had my fair share of injuries here and there.

“I almost haven’t even fully processed that I’m actually done,” she continued. “I just feel like I’m going to come back from Christmas break ready to lift and get ready with the team for the spring. So since that’s not the case, what do you do when?”

Roberts and the Owl seniors from this year’s team finished with an overall record of 68-28, three Little East championships, and two NCAA tournament second-round appearances.

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