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Panther Lacrosse goalies honored by Little East Conference

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The starting goaltenders on the Plymouth State University men's and women's lacrosse teams were recognized Monday by the Little East Conference for their performances in the final week of the regular season.

Senior Carmen Villanueva (East Schodack, N.Y.) was named the LEC Women's Lacrosse Defensive Player of the Week, and freshman Steve Valeri (Chelmsford, Mass.) was selected LEC Men's Lacrosse Rookie of the Week. Villanueva was honored for the second time this season, while Valeri becomes the first Panther men's player to be recognized by the LEC this spring.

Villanueva stopped 19 of the 31 shots she faced (.613) last week, helping the Panthers to a pair of key victories. She made 15 saves Thursday in a 14-8 win at Colby College, and turned away four shots in the first half of Saturday's 20-8 triumph over UMass Dartmouth that allowed PSU to clinch its third straight LEC regular season title. Villanueva, who leads the conference in goals against average (5.82), was ranked fourth in the nation in GAA in last week's NCAA Division III statistics.


Valeri turned aside 25 of the 35 shots he encountered (.714) in a pair of games last week, recording a 5.71 goals against average. He had six saves through three quarters in a 16-4 non-conference win over Daniel Webster on Thursday, and made 19 stops in a narrow 7-5 setback on Saturday to UMass Dartmouth. The Panther freshman ranks fourth in the conference this spring in GAA (7.68) and saves percentage (.632).


Both Panther lacrosse teams are involved in the annual LEC Tournaments this week. The PSU men, 5-6 overall, are the fourth seed in the men's tourney, and will host the University of Southern Maine Tuesday at Panther Field (3:30 p.m.) in a first-round game. The women's squad, 13-0, has earned the tournament's top seed and a first-round bye, and will host the LEC semifinals and championship game Friday (1:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.) and Saturday (1:00 p.m.) at Arold Field.

The LEC men's and women's lacrosse tournament champions both receive automatic bids into the NCAA Division III Tournaments.

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