Panthers gearing up for 2018 campaign
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Little East Conference (LEC) has released the 2018 Field Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll and Plymouth State University has been chosen by the league's 13 head coaches to finish third.
Worcester State University, the 2017 regular season champion, is the preseason favorite after accumulating seven first place votes for 138 points. Keene State College, which captured a fifth straight LEC Tournament championship last fall, was selected a close second with five first place votes for 133 points. Plymouth State was the recipient of the final first place vote and finished with 114 points to hold the third spot.
Westfield State University (100 points), Bridgewater State University (89 points), University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (86 points), Eastern Connecticut State University (80 points) and the University of Southern Maine (64 points) round out the top eight, as Fitchburg State University and Western Connecticut State University finished tied for ninth with 57 points.
Castleton University (54 points), Framingham State University (21 points) and Salem State University (17 points) filled in the bottom three spots in the poll.
Veteran head coach Bonnie Lord, entering her 19th season atop the program, welcomes back ten players from last year's squad that finished 12-6. It gave Lord a 17th season with double digit wins.
Sophomore Haley Wakefield (South Paris, Maine) will look to pick up where she left off after a stellar rookie campaign. Last year she led the team with 16 goals while earning All-LEC First Team, NFHCA All-New England West Region Second Team and Synapse Sports All-Rookie Team honors.
Defenseman Patty Newhard (South Dennis, Mass.), the team's lone senior, will provide both leadership in the backfield and additional offense. Newhard finished last season with five goals and four assists, led the team with three defensive saves and is well-known around the league for her powerful drives. Junior Kylie Ham (Wayland, Mass.) will also help lead a defense that surrendered just 16 goals through 16 regular season games last year.
Plymouth State kicks off the 2018 campaign at the Caryl Newhof Classic at Smith College on Labor Day weekend. PSU opens with defending champion SUNY Cortland on Sept. 1 (2:30 p.m.), with the championship and consolation games set for Sept. 2.
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