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Five Panthers receive All-LEC honors

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The Little East Conference annual awards for field hockey were announced on Monday, and five Plymouth State College players were named LEC All-Stars and the Panther head coach was voted LEC Coach of the Year.

Four Panthers were selected to the All-LEC First Team - senior midfielder Katie Dodge (Sanbornton, N.H.), senior forward Jill Matteson (Chatham, Mass.), junior goalkeeper Ellen Ward (Thorndike, Maine) and senior back Kristle Wheeler (Brandon, Vt.). In addition, sophomore back Annie Metz (North Chelmsford, Mass.) was named All-LEC Second Team, and head coach Bonnie Lord was named LEC Coach of the Year.

The five players were instrumental in leading the Panthers to a 17-1 overall record this season and their third straight LEC Championship. PSC opens play in the NCAA Division III National Tournament this weekend at Messiah College (Pa.).

Dodge earned All-LEC honors for the third time in her career. She was one of the top all-around players in the conference, finishing second in the LEC this fall with eight assists. She was tied for third on the Panthers in scoring with five goals and 18 points, and has registered 17 goals and 19 assists in her four-year career. Dodge also earned All-LEC honors in 1998 and 1999.

Matteson was named to the All-LEC team for the first time in her career after leading the Panthers and ranking third in the conference in scoring. Matteson tallied 13 goals and four assists this season after recording seven goals and one assists in her first three seasons combined. She scored at least two goals in a game four times this season, and was credited with the game-winning goal in the LEC Championship victory over Southern Maine.

Ward led the LEC and is one of the national leaders in goals against average (0.53), earning All-LEC honors for the second time in her career. Ward allowed only nine goals in 1191 minutes of action, recording seven shutouts herself and contributing to three others. Ward extended her PSC career shutout mark to 22, and surrendered more than one goal only one time this season.

Wheeler and Metz were the backbones to a Panther defense that gave up only 10 goals in 18 games this season while helping PSC outshoot its opponents, 367-119. Plymouth State blanked 10 of its 18 opponents and allowed only one goal to seven others. Wheeler was selected All-LEC for the third time (she was Second Team in 2000 and First Team in 2001) while Metz received the honor for the first time.

Lord was selected LEC Coach of the Year for the second time in three seasons. She was also named Regional Coach of the Year in 2001 by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association.