PLYMOUTH, N.H. - It should be another strong women's lacrosse season for Plymouth State College in 2002, with 18 returning veterans and another year's worth of experience.
The Panthers open the season next week with a spring trip to Orlando, Fla. PSC will play two games on the southern swing, facing Trinity College on Wednesday (Mar. 20) and Dickinson College on Friday (Mar. 22). PSC will play two more road games back in New England at Babson (on Mar. 26) and Springfield (on Mar. 28) before the home opener on Apr. 1 against Colby-Sawyer.
Plymouth State has won two straight conference championships and advanced to the NCAA Tournament twice, and second-year head coach Wynne Lobel is hoping for more of the same this spring. After winning the New England Women's Lacrosse Alliance regular season and tournament titles the past two seasons, PSC will play in the Little East Conference in 2002 for its inaugural season.
"We want to be the first team to win a Little East Conference women's lacrosse championship," says Lobel, who led the Panthers to a 13-4 record in her first season. "There is no automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament for a first-year conference, so all of our games will be very important. We will have a lot of very big, competitive games."
2002 P.S.C. Women's Lacrosse Outlook
The Panthers return experienced players all over the field, with the loss of only three starters from last year's team.
"One of our strengths is our veteran leadership," says Lobel. "We have a lot of people who are experienced lacrosse players, and we have people who know what it takes to play at the championship level."
The returnees on offense are led by senior Robin Hartman (Westminster, Md.) and sophomore Katie Sheridan (West Sayville, N.Y.). Hartman, who led the team with 61 points last season, is one of the school's all-time leading scorers with 115 goals and 51 assists. Sheridan had an excellent freshman season, scoring a team-leading 40 goals. The Panthers also welcome back junior Janet Conner (South Freeport, Maine), who scored 62 goals in her first two years before missing last season.
Others who should see playing time in an attack role include junior Melissa Cotton (Osterville, MA), transfer Karen Hosmer (Westminster, Md.), and freshman Annmarie Guglielmo (Gansevoort, N.Y.).
"We'll be trying different combinations," says Lobel. "We have several multi-positional players, which gives us the opportunity to do some different things."
The Panther midfield unit returns several veterans, both offensively and defensively. Senior co-captain Brooke Smith (Columbia, SC) and sophomore Michelle Norton (Sandwich, Mass.) will play key roles offensively, along with juniors Marushka Eddy (Nantucket, Mass.), Jill Matteson (Chatham, Mass.) and Eileen Rice (Nashua, N.H.). The defensive midfielders include senior co-captain Sacha Jackson (Sangerville, Maine), sophomore Cathy Berei (Pennington, N.J.), junior Julie Shields (Whitby, ONT) and senior Beth Dooly (Goffstown, N.H.).
Senior Megan Wolfley (Maplewood, N.J.) anchors the Panther defense, which allowed only 7.24 goals per game last season. Senior Marcia Wood (Sanford, Maine), who also plays attack, will log time in the back, along with sophomore Gina Brunelas (Lowell, Mass.) and freshman Nicole Keener (Eliot, Maine).
PSC has sophomore Carmen Villanueva (East Schodack, N.Y.), who played in 11 games last season, returning in goal. Also contending for the starting job is freshman Melissa Gravilla (Andover, N.H.), who came in with excellent skills, according to Lobel.
"There has been a consistent improvement in the team in the off-season," says Lobel. "If we continue to improve and come together as a team, we're looking at another excellent year."