PLYMOUTH, N.H. - A new era begins for the Plymouth State University women's ice hockey team this weekend when the Panthers host a pair of Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) East Division games at Waterville Valley Arena.
Plymouth State will host Norwich University Friday at 6:00 p.m. and Castleton State College Saturday at 2:00 p.m. The Panthers are now in their fourth season as a varsity sport and third year in the ECAC Women's East Conference. This weekend will mark the debut of new PSU head coach Darcy Corson.
After a visit to Saint Michael's College in Vermont for a conference game on Saturday, Nov. 14, PSU will have three more home games at Waterville Valley, including match-ups against Granite State foes New England College and Saint Anselm College.
A highlight to this year's schedule is the participation in the Saint Michael's Holiday Classic. PSU will meet Chatham University and Saint Michael's in the tournament on January 2-3, 2010.
The top eight teams in the ECAC East will advance to the conference tournament the first week in March, with the champion receiving an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Tournament.
2009-10 PSU Women's Ice Hockey Outlook
The Panthers finally picked up their first win as a varsity team last February, getting that monkey off their backs. Now the team wants to win more. Coach Corson (right) hopes there are some wins on the way as well, but she is being cautiously optimistic.
"I expect us to be more competitive this year but I'm not sure what that will mean in terms of wins and losses," said Corson. "There's some raw talent on the team. I think we'll be in a lot more games, and not losing but such large margins."
Corson said the team has been working on a lot of fundamentals, keeping it simple. "We went back to the basics, drilling the fundamentals. We want to be disciplined and structured in every zone. The student-athletes are really coachable and they've shown a strong work ethic. I think they were looking for some direction."
Junior Mollie Metcalfe (Orleans, Mass./Nauset Regional) has been named the team captain for this season, with sophomores Jaimie Camara (Portsmouth, R.I.) and Danielle Shea (Billerica, Mass.) serving as assistant captains. Their roles will be important as PSU transitions to the new coach and with six freshmen and 13 sophomores on the 22-player roster.
Corson will look to Shea, Camara and sophomore Tina Worley (Anchorage, Alaska) to lead the offense. Shea has returned to form after an injury and has been impressive, and Camara led the team in scoring as a freshman last season. Worley has also shown promise.
"We've been doing some really good things with that line," said Corson. "We'd like to put together another line to match it."
Corson added there are several solid newcomers on offense, including freshmen Jackie Collins (Dedham, Mass./Dedham) and Jenn Bove (Medford, Mass./Medford).
The Panthers will rely heavily on veterans on defense and hope that their experience will carry them through. Metcalfe moves back to defense after playing forward the last two seasons. Sophomore Abby VanWormer (Marstons Mills, Mass.) returns after a solid rookie campaign, and classmate Ally Baribault (Middle Haddam, Conn./Hebron Academy) is back from an injury. Freshman Montanna Heinlein (St. Albans, Vt./Bellows Free Academy) provides depth for the Panthers.
Corson says sophomore Nicole Provencher (Guilford, Conn.) is the top goaltender and will draw the starting nod. "She had a successful playing career before she came to Plymouth State and she got a little playing time last year. She's technically good, but she just lacks experience. I have a lot of confidence in her."
Corson pointed out that "everything is different this year. The level of commitment is a lot higher, and I think they've responded. There's been a lot of teaching, and I'm pushing them really hard, too. They're on board and have been very enthusiastic."
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