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PSU Field Hockey to make season debut

Panthers feature veteran squad for 2011

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Another exciting campaign for the Plymouth State University field hockey team begins this Saturday when the Panthers travel to Endicott College for the 2011 season opener at 1:00 p.m.

            This will be the fourth year in a row that PSU has started the season against Endicott.  The Gulls won the debuts in 2008 and 2010 while the Panthers captured the victory in 2009.  Plymouth State will play its next three games at home, including the home opener at Arold Field next Wednesday, Sept. 7, against Castleton State College. The first Little East Conference contest is at Arold Field on Saturday, Sept. 10, against Western Connecticut State University.

  
  Head Coach Bonnie Lord

            Led by veteran head coach Bonnie Lord, the Panthers are coming off a season that culminated in the ECAC New England Championship. PSU finished with a 14-7 overall record, tied for second in the LEC with an 8-3 record, and capitalized on its third straight visit to the ECAC title 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 149-71 overall mark with winning records and post-season berths in 10 out of 11 seasons.

            PSU will play a 17-game regular-season slate in 2011, 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. 

2011 PSU Field Hockey Outlook

            Hopes are high for PSU this fall as the Panthers graduated only one senior from last year's squad, leaving the midfield and entire defensive unit intact.  Coach Lord has 10 starters back and a strong group of newcomers who are coming together as a unit.

            "I'm pleased with our progress as a team," said Lord.  "They took their summer program seriously, and they were able to step into preseason ready to go.  We understand our potential, and the hard work it takes to get to where we want to be at the end of the year."

            Leading the way for the Panthers are a pair of senior All-LEC midfielders, captain Lauren Bergeron and Christina Parisi.  Both are solid anchors for the team and all-around players who contribute at both ends of the field.

            PSU has stressed defense for many years under Coach Lord, and this year should be no different with the return of the entire starting defensive unit.  Sophomore Amanda Butler is back at sweeper after a solid rookie campaign; senior Brittany Treichel is a four-year starter on the Panther defense; and sophomores Aisha Rai Thompson and Alyssa Audet were valuable starters a year ago.  Senior Erin Norris, who's coming back from an injury, can also contribute.

            Junior Hilary Lemelin also returns to hold down the starting goalie job.  She recorded three shutouts and a 1.74 goals against average last year.  Freshman Jennifer James gives the Panthers a capable back-up.

            While PSU will have to overcome the loss of last year's senior captain Kristina Conroy, the Panthers should have a solid offensive unit led by junior Olivia Colborn.  Colborn led the team in scoring last year with 16 goals and 34 points.  PSU could also look to sophomores Jackie Morin and Lauren Carroll for offense.

            Coach Lord says several of the newcomers could be solid contributors, including freshmen midfielders Ines Campbell and Nikki Garvey and freshman forward Cailey Newton.

            "Our goal is to win the Little East Conference," said Lord.  "That's our starting line, and we should be one of the top contenders this year," said Lord.  "We would like our finish line to be with an LEC Championship." 

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