Panthers begin new era under head coach Liz Stich
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – A new era for the Plymouth State University women's basketball team begins this weekend when the Panthers open the 2012-13 season by hosting the Comfort Inn Tip-Off Tournament at Foley Gym.
The weekend marks the debut of Panther head coach Liz Stich, who took over the program last summer. Stich spent the past four years as an assistant coach at Central Connecticut State University and enjoyed a four-year playing career at the University of Hartford. She takes over from Lauren Lavigne, who served as head coach the past 14 seasons.
|Head Coach Liz Stich|
The Panthers will host Eastern Nazarene College this Friday, Nov. 16, at 5:00 p.m. in the tournament opener, with Norwich University meeting Elms College in the second game at 7:00 p.m. The two winners will play for the title Saturday at 3:00 p.m., following a consolation game at 1:00 p.m.
After the tip-off tourney, PSU will play four straight road games, including the Little East Conference opener at Rhode Island College on Saturday, Dec. 1. The two remaining home games this semester are Saturday, Dec. 8, vs. the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and Tuesday, Dec. 11, against Emerson College.
The Panthers' schedule this season includes 25 regular season contests, including 14 Little East games. The LEC Tournament takes place the last week of February, with a champion being crowned on Feb. 23 and receiving an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Tournament.
2012-13 PSU Women's Basketball Outlook
This should be a growing season for Plymouth State as Stich settles into her new role and the Panthers come together as a team. The new coach is a little uncertain but confident and excited about the season.
"There's a lot of unknowns, and we're working together to get through that," said Stich. "The players show up with a great attitude and every day we get better. Everything is new to them; from the terminology, to offensive plays to the defensive schemes. But the girls have embraced the learning process so far."
The Panthers have six veterans among the 10 players on the roster, and Stich says she can see the potential in the group. They've been working extremely hard and the coach likes what she sees but admits she hasn't seen them compete against an outside opponent.
"We want to build a foundation this year that will set the tone for the program," said Stich. "There may be bumps in the road but we're not going to move forward until the foundation is built."
PSU will have to overcome the loss of its top five scorers from last year's team but all six returnees saw significant playing time last season. Senior Katie Seraikas (Concord, N.H./Bow) is back after starting at forward in 15 of her 18 games last season. Junior Krystin Corliss (Barnstead, N.H./Merrimack Valley) is a two-year veteran at guard who is looking to step up into a bigger role, and classmate Meghan Faretra (Bow, N.H./Tilton School) could be a contributor at either forward or guard.
Sophomores Tiffany Lewis (Hillsboro, N.H./Hillsboro-Deering) and Kristen Hrubowchak (Litchfield, N.H./Campbell) both gained valuable minutes in their solid rookie campaigns a year ago, with each starting five games. Senior Kaylee Towle (Dover, N.H./Dover) can also help out at guard.
Stich says all of the newcomers should see significant playing time, and that group includes forwards Hannah Andry (Melrose, Mass./Austin Prep) and Bry Bennett (Lancaster, N.H./White Mountains Regional) and guards Taylor Perry (Simsbury, Conn.) and Kathleen McCormack (Hartford, Conn./Northwest Catholic).
"With a smaller roster every player has to be versatile, and every player has shown they can be," said Stich. "We'll have to count on ourselves, and that has helped with the team bonding and helped us morph into a family."
Stich knows the road may be rocky for the Panthers in the rugged Little East Conference, but it's a challenge she's ready for.
"It's tough for me to gauge because I'm not that familiar with the Little East," admitted Stich, "but we want to make the playoffs. We'll just work as hard as we can and continue doing all the things that lead to good results."
-- 30 --