PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Despite the winter conditions in New Hampshire, the Plymouth State College men's lacrosse team is scheduled to open the 2003 spring season this Saturday.
The Panthers' opener will mark the debut of new head coach John Pynchon, who took over the team in December. Pynchon will lead his squad for the first time Saturday at 3:00 p.m. against Colby College in a game that will be played on the turf field at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.
PSC, which has been practicing and training indoors at the school's Physical Education Center, plays its second game on Mar. 19 against Skidmore College during the spring trip to Disney World in Florida. The Panthers have three more road games scheduled back in New England the last week of March before the home opener, which is slated for Apr. 2 against Gordon College.
Pynchon is hoping the Panthers can rebound from a disappointing 4-10 campaign last year. There are 14 returning veterans who are determined to help PSC contend for the top spot in the Little East Conference.
"We have a competitive conference," says Pynchon, "and we play a strong non-league schedule that will help us get ready. Several of the guys played in the ECAC playoffs two years ago, and we want to get back there." 2003 P.S.C. Men's Lacrosse Outlook
Pynchon indicated the Panthers will feature a solid defensive team in 2003.
"We're strong and quick and experienced on defense," says Pynchon, a former assistant at Gordon College. "Our team is fairly young, but they all have good high school experience. And the captain and senior leadership has been great. They've kept the team together during the transition to a new coach."
The defensive unit will be a combination of returnees and newcomers. Sophomore Bill Cosentino (Levittown, N.Y.) is a returning starter, and will likely be joined by Aaron Mitchell (Bow, N.H.), a transfer from Maine Maritime, and freshman Phil Demeris (Chelmsford, Mass.).
Sophomores Matt McCormick (Sudbury, Mass.) and Bryan Greene (Sudbury, Mass.), high school teammates and starters last season, will play key roles as defensive middies, along with freshman John Padua (Hamden, Conn.).
The goaltending job will be a combination of freshman Michael Rodrick (Plaistow, N.H.) and junior Tim McNamara (West Lebanon, N.H.). Rodrick is the probable starter with McNamara a returning veteran at back-up.
PSC has a veteran unit in the midfield, led by the four captains. Seniors Ken McGuire (Wayland, Mass.) and Jason Biedrzycki (Amherst, N.H.) are four-year veterans and two-year captains, and will be joined on a line by junior co-captain Eric Gobiel (Chelmsford, Mass.). Sophomore co-captain Steve Skinner (Hingham, Mass.) and junior Sam Harding (South Berwick, Maine) give PSC a solid base on the second midfield line, with freshman John Gagnon (New Bedford, Mass.) showing promise and making a case for the third spot on that line.
"It's nice having that much experience in the midfield," says Pynchon.
Senior Kevin Finnerty (Bay Shore, N.Y.) and sophomore Pat O'Malley (South Windsor, Conn.) are returning starters at attack. Finnerty has scored 36 goals the last two years, and O'Malley finished a solid rookie year with 12 goals and 12 assists. Freshman Ryan Lawlor (Reading, Mass.) looks like the third starter, with strong back-up players in sophomore John Gallagher (Forestdale, Mass.) and freshmen Jared Siegel (Ledyard, Conn.) and Bobby Dabrieo (Woburn, Mass.).
"We've got plenty of talent," says Pynchon. "If we can pull it together, we can be competitive. They know they're better than the 4-10 team they were last year."