PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The Plymouth State College women's lacrosse team is gearing up for another successful season, and is seeking its fourth consecutive conference championship in 2003.
The Panthers are scheduled to make their season debut this Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J. PSC will then travel to California during the school's spring break, playing two games on the west coast against Whittier College (Mar. 17) and Colorado College (Mar. 20). Plymouth State returns to New England for three more road games the last week of March before the scheduled home opener on Apr. 5 against Western Connecticut.
PSC will be out to defend its Little East Conference Championship after winning the league's inaugural title in 2002. In fact, the Panthers are going for their fourth straight conference crown after winning New England Women's Lacrosse Alliance trophies in 2000 and 2001.
Third-year head coach Wynne Lobel has 14 returning veterans and a group of seven newcomers, and is optimistic that this year's squad has the ability and desire to achieve those goals.
"We want to repeat the Little East Conference title," says Lobel. "We want to be the best team that we can be, and have fun. We have a strong core of players, and we are a unit that will continue to improve."
2003 P.S.C. Women's Lacrosse Outlook
The Panthers have seven returning starters, including four who earned All-Conference honors last spring. Lobel says the strength lies in the depth and versatility departments.
"We have a lot of people who can play different positions," says Lobel, "and they're able to switch on the fly. Everyone can play both offense and defense anywhere on the field."
Leading the offensive returnees is Regional All-American Katie Sheridan (West Sayville, N.Y.). The junior midfielder, who was named LEC Offensive Player of the Year, scored 67 goals last year and is one of PSC's career scoring leaders after only two years. Other top offensive returnees include junior Michelle Norton (Sandwich, Mass.), a two-year starter who has 50 career goals, and sophomore Annmarie Guglielmo (Gansevoort, N.Y.), who scored 28 goals as a freshman.
Freshman Bethany Brown (Norwich, Conn.), senior Melissa Cotton (Osterville, Mass.), and freshman Caitlyn Irving (Avon, Conn.) will also be vying for the attack positions. Senior Jill Matteson (Chatham, Mass.), sophomore transfer Katie O'Donnell (Plymouth, N.H.) and freshman Lilly Silva (Lowell, Mass.) will play offensive midfield roles.
PSC had an outstanding defensive unit last season, holding 14 of their 18 opponents to less than 10 goals. Senior Julie Shields (Whitby, ONT) and sophomore Cathy Berei (Pennington, N.J.), are returning All-LEC defenders, while seniors Eileen Rice (Nashua, N.H.), Marushka Eddy (Nantucket, Mass.), and Beth Dooly (Goffstown, N.H.) give PSC a contingent of experienced veteran defensive midfielders. PSC could also look to sophomores Nicole Keener (Eliot, Maine) and Jill Carney (Yarmoth, Maine) and freshman Hillary Arthur (Essex Jct., Vt.) to round out the defense.
Freshman Meghan O'Neil (Scituate, Mass.) could join Berei as one of the defensive starters, with juniors Gina Brunelas (Lowell, Mass.) and Amy Harrington (Goffstown, N.H.) providing depth.
A key to the defense will be the return of junior goalie Carmen Villanueva (East Schodack, N.Y.). She has started 11 games over the past two years, posting an 8-1 record, and will be counted on this spring. "Carmen is tenacious and aggressive," says Lobel.
"Our goals," Lobel added, "are teamwork, working at our personal best every single day, and always walking off the field knowing we gave it 110 percent."