Panthers feature young but talented squad
|Head Coach Bonnie Lord|
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University field hockey team will be at home for the start of the 2010 season as the Panthers host Endicott College on Saturday, Sept. 4 at 1:00 p.m. at Arold Field.
PSU has opened the past two seasons at Endicott, losing in 2008 and winning last year, both by 4-2 scores. The Panthers’ first road trip this season is Wednesday, Sept. 8, to Castleton State College, and the Little East Conference debut is back at Arold Field on Saturday, Sept. 11, against Salem State University.
Led by veteran head coach Bonnie Lord, the Panthers will be seeking their 10th post-season berth in 11 seasons. PSU finished with a 12-9 overall record last year after advancing to its second straight ECAC New England Tournament championship game.
Winning has been the standard for Plymouth State field hockey since Lord took over as head coach in 2000, as the Panthers have combined for a 135-64 overall mark with winning records in nine out of 10 seasons.
PSU will play a 17-game regular-season slate in 2010, including 11 LEC contests. Eight of the 12 teams advance to the conference tournament the first week in November, with the champion receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
2010 PSU Field Hockey Outlook
Unlike last season, when PSU had 16 veterans and nine starters returning, the 2010 Panthers have just nine returnees and four starters back from last year. There is only one senior and five juniors on the squad of 20, and with seven seniors graduated after last season; Lord is looking at a lot of new faces.
“It’s a new team, and it’s a very balanced squad,” said Lord. “We have a very focused and determined group who are very passionate about the game. We’re very pleased with the physical conditioning and overall attitude. Even with the large number of newcomers, we’re very confident and our expectations are high.”
PSU has one key returning starter in each area of the field, senior co-captain Kristina Conroy (Wakefield, Mass.) at forward, junior co-captain Lauren Bergeron (New Hampton, N.H./Newfound) in the midfield, and junior Brittany Treichel (Clinton, Conn./Morgan School) on defense.
“We’re just so new, that we’ll look to those players for stability,” said Lord. “We plan to function as a team as much as possible, so there’s no pressure on any one person.”
Lord says the top newcomer could be sophomore goalie Hilary Lemelin (Milan, N.H./Berlin). The Panthers have both goalkeepers back from last season in junior Elyse Sedgley (Hopkinton, N.H./Hopkinton) and sophomore Hannah Sawyer (Kingston, N.H./Sanborn Regional), but Lemelin has been impressive, according to Lord, and could take over the starting job.
Treichel, a three-year starter on defense, will be joined by junior Erin Norris (Hilton, N.Y./Hilton Central) and sophomore Molly Saunders (Center Conway, N.H./Kennett), according to Lord. Freshman Aisha Rai Thompson (Berlin, N.H./Berlin) is a welcome addition to the group, as is classmate Alyssa Audet (Biddeford, ME/Cheverus).
Bergeron, a three-year starter at center midfield, will likely be flanked by a pair of freshmen, Natalie Harkins (Windham, Maine/Windham) and Annabelle Frenette (Old Orchard Beach, Maine/Old Orchard Beach). Classmate Amanda Butler (Newton, N.H./Sanborn Regional) should also see action at both midfield and defense, and Coach Lord is pleased with the play of local freshman Ashley Reed (Rumney, N.H./Plymouth Regional).
Conroy scored five goals and five assists last season, and has 24 career goals to her credit, and should help carry the load on offense for PSU. The Panthers will also look for scoring from juniors Christina Parisi (Hampton Falls, N.H./Winnacunnet) and Olivia Colborn (Lancaster, N.H./White Mountains Regional), and freshman Lauren Carroll (Rollinsford, N.H./Somersworth) looks like the top newcomer.
“This has the potential to be one of the best teams we’ve had in a long time,” says Lord. “We haven’t fully defined ourselves yet, but we’re very balanced. Everyone’s working very hard and we’re coming together as a team. We’re looking forward to the season and feel like we could have some surprises along the way.”
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