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PSC set to open 2001 season

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Hoping to pick up from where it left off last season, the Plymouth State College women's lacrosse team opens the 2001 campaign next week during its annual spring trip to Florida.

The Panthers will play only one game during the trip, next Thursday (Mar. 22) vs. Wellesley College. PSC is scheduled to play its first contest in New England on Tuesday (Mar. 27) at Babson, with the home opener slated for Thursday (Mar. 29) at Arold Field against Springfield.

Plymouth State hopes to defend its New England Women's Lacrosse Alliance championship in 2001, but it will be under new leadership. New head coach Wynne Lobel, a 1993 Ithaca graduate, takes over the Panther program after serving as an assistant at Wheaton College and Boston College. She replaces Abby Burbank, who left last summer to become women's lacrosse coach at the University of Denver.

Lobel has the benefit of 17 experienced returnees and a host of solid newcomers. The program had one of the most successful seasons in school history in 2000, winning the NEWLA title, earning its first NCAA Tournament berth, and finishing with a 15-4 overall record.

2001 P.S.C. Women's Lacrosse Outlook

The Panthers will feature an athletic, versatile squad in 2001, according to Lobel. The strength is in the defense, but there is also plenty of scoring power.

"We're strong defensively and have a powerful scoring potential," said Lobel. "We have a lot of people who can play more than one position and who have both offensive and defensive skills, which is a gift."

The offense lost to graduation last year's leading scorer Faith Wahlen and 100-goal scorer Amandy Beedy, but the key returnee is junior Robin Hartman (Santa Maria, Cal./Franklin H.S.-Md.). She led the team with 46 goals last season, and has already reached eighth on the PSC career-scoring list with 105 points. She should be the anchor to this year's offense. Sophomore Heather Adey (Nashua, N.H.) had a solid rookie campaign, and could be a bigger factor this spring.

Others who should see playing time in an attack role include juniors Marcia Wood (Sanford, Maine) and Brooke Smith (Columbia, SC), seniors Kelly Curran (Forestdale, Mass.) and Ali Hoffman (Hancock, N.H.) and sophomore Melissa Cotton (Osterville, MA). Freshman Katie Sheridan (West Sayville, NY) is the leading offensive newcomer.

The Panther midfield unit returns several veterans, both offensively and defensively. Senior Courtney O'Sullivan (East Kingston, N.H.) is a strong all-around player who scored 18 goals last season. Senior Chrystn Pitt (Freeport, Maine) and junior Sacha Jackson (Sangerville, Maine) are solid veteran leaders defensively. Others who should see plenty of time on the field include freshmen Michelle Norton (Sandwich, Mass.), Cathy Berei (Pennington, N.J.) and Sheridan, sophomores Eileen Rice (Nashua, N.H.) and Julie Shields (Whitby, ONT) and junior Beth Dooly (Goffstown, N.H.).

The Panthers lost two starters from the defense, including current assistant coach Jess Shapiro, who was the NEWLA Defensive Player of the Year, and Jenn Hilbert. Pitt anchors the defense from the midfield along with a pair of returning veterans, junior Megan Wolfley (Maplewood, N.J.) and sophomore Marushka Eddy (Nantucket, Mass.). Freshman Annmarie DeVivo (West Islip, N.Y.) should be the top newcomer on defense.

Last year's starting goalie, Lisa Goldberg, is also now an assistant coach, but the Panthers have two veterans and a newcomer to fill the role in 2001. Graduate student Brenna Matarazzo (Salem, N.H.) was an All-Conference goalie in 1998, and sophomore Lindsay Breda (Londonderry, N.H.) saw action in eight games last season. Freshman Carmen Villanueva (East Schodack, N.Y.) is an experienced high school goalie who will also get a chance at the job.

"We want to work hard and play as a team," said Lobel, "and if we do that, we're looking for another record-breaking year in 2001."