PLYMOUTH, N.H. - For the second year in a row, Plymouth State College will host a home game in the first round of the NCAA Division III Field Hockey Championship Tournament. The Panthers will entertain the Fighting Scots of Gordon College this Wednesday (Oct. 31st) at 2 p.m. at Arold Field.
PSC earned a berth in the 18-team NCAA Championships by winning its second consecutive Little East Conference title, while Gordon received an NCAA invitation after capturing the Commonwealth Coast Conference regular season and tournament crowns. The winner of Wednesday's contest advances to the NCAA Round of 16 this weekend at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., and will face powerhouse SUNY Cortland Saturday (Nov. 3) at 2 p.m. Williams will play against Rowan in Saturday's 11 a.m. game, with the NCAA quarterfinal game involving Saturday's winners set for Sunday at Williams at 1 p.m.
Plymouth State is making its second straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and fifth overall. The Panthers also participated in 1984, 1993, and 1994. The 1994 team upset Williams in the first round before losing to Middlebury in the regional final. PSC was upended 1-0 at home by New England College in last year's first round. PSC, 14-4 overall under second-year head coach Bonnie Lord, takes an 11-game winning streak into this year's NCAA Tournament, including six consecutive shutout victories. The Panthers have outscored their opponents 41-18 this season, and have surrendered only three goals in their last 10 outings.
Gordon brings a sparkling 15-2 overall record to Plymouth. The Fighting Scots have won eight games in a row, allowing only two goals in that span. Gordon, which is located in Wenham, Mass., is making its first ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
The Panthers feature a balanced offensive attack, led by the seniors Megan Fournier (East Waterboro, Maine) and Sacha Jackson (Sangerville, Maine) and junior Katie Dodge (Sanbornton, N.H.). Fournier, the LEC Tournament Most Valuable Player, has a team-high 13 goals, while Jackson has six goals and an assist and Dodge four goals and five assists. Juniors Melanie McAvey (Grafton, Mass.) and Jill Matteson (Chatham, Mass.) have also contributed five goals apiece.
The defense is anchored by sophomore goalie Ellen Ward (Thorndike, Maine), who has a 1.00 goals against average. The other keys to the Panther defense, which has allowed only 18 goals in 18 games, are senior Robin Hartman (Santa Maria, Cal.), junior Kristle Wheeler (Brandon, Vt.), sophomore Whitney Swaffield (Wolfeboro, N.H.) and freshman Annie Metz (North Chelmsford, Mass.).