Keene High alum Victoria Reynolds’ career at Keene State College has been much like her playing style: quick and impactful.
After starting all 16 games and recording two assists as a freshman last year, the sophomore midfielder has more than quadrupled her point total this season, with three goals and three assists through 11 games.
“It’s actually really awesome,” Reynolds said. “I’m less shy, I want the ball more, I’m very vocal, I just love it this year.”
Reynolds was a two-time All-State honorable mention during her time with the Blackbirds. After she graduated in 2018, Keene State Coach Denise Lyons — who is now in her 24th season at the helm — couldn’t wait to see her new recruit in action, having watched her play growing up in the Monadnock Region.
“She’s a small player, but she’s dynamic,” Lyons said of her 5-foot-1 middie. “She moves the ball really, really well, one-and-two touch so she doesn’t have to get hit that hard.
“Just to step in with the freshman year under her belt, she now is like a seasoned player. She doesn’t look like a sophomore out there, she looks like a senior.”
Reynolds made her talents known in box score of Wednesday’s game — an 8-0 pounding of Framingham State at Dr. Ron Butcher Field. She shared the team lead for shots on goal with three, and scored one of its many goals.
In the 30th minute, Reynolds received a pass from Amanda Marshall, dribbled around her defender and launched a shot off her right foot from the goalie’s left side. Framingham keeper Madison Brown blocked the shot, but Reynolds chased after the rebound and put up a second shot with her left foot that rolled past the off-balance goalie for the Owls’ third score.
“Unfortunately, I kind of missed [the first shot] and the goalie hit it, but luckily I was there to put it away in the end,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds’ skills were also shown in the team’s first goal, although in a more subtle way that won’t show up in a box score.
As Sarah Carron dribbled the ball from the goalie’s left toward the center, Reynolds set a slight pick for Carron’s defender, giving the junior midfielder enough separation to send a pass into the box for Kaliana Palhof, who drove the ball into the bottom left corner of the net.
“She’s a very smart player. She reads the game really, really well,” Lyons said. “She sees plays sometimes ahead of other players and she plays the balls through. Just a dynamic player, works really, really hard, and is a positive person on and off the field. She just brings a lot to our program.”
Reynolds was subbed out of the game following her score, as were most of the Owls’ starters as their lead grew larger and larger. This gave several backup players the chance to shine, including another pair of Keene High alums.
Senior defender Rebecca Freitas tallied an assist on a 53rd-minute goal by Mandi Dovas, and sophomore goalie Rebecca Koziara — who missed much of last year with an injury — saw her first collegiate action, playing 33 minutes, 31 seconds in the second half and making a team-high six saves.
“The local players are really contributing to my program,” Lyons said. “It’s exciting to see that, and have the community come to support the local players from the high school.”
Keene State’s win improves its record to 4-7, matching its win total from last season.
Lyons said young stars like Reynolds are instrumental for the team’s future, and all she hopes for from her is more of the same: impactful play, fast growth and a non-stop effort on the pitch.
“I hope that she’ll continue to do that,” Lyons said. “Sometimes players wade off a little bit and you don’t get that every game, but every time she steps on the field, she gives me 110 percent, and that’s all I can ask for.”