Panther receives ECAC Tournament berth

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Earning its 17th post-season appearance in the last 18 years, the Plymouth State College women's soccer team extended its season by earning a berth in the Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III New England Tournament.

The Panthers received the seventh seed in the eight-team field, and will travel to second-seeded Bates College on Wednesday for a 1 p.m. match-up. PSC returns to the post-season after missing out in 1999, following a string of 16 play-off appearances from 1983-98.

The rest of the first-round games include #8 Southern Maine (12-7-0) at #1 Wellesley (11-4-2), #6 Williams (10-6-0) at #3 Keene State (13-6-3), and #4 Springfield (13-4-2) at #5 Amherst (9-5-1). The semi-finals are scheduled for Saturday at the sites of the top two remaining seeds, with the championship game slated for Sunday at the home field of the higher seeded team.

Led by second-year head coach Rebecca Lisack, the Panthers bring a 10-7-2 overall record into the ECAC Tournament. The Panthers finished 4-2-1 in the LEC during the regular season and defeated Rhode Island College in the first round of the conference tournament last Tuesday before falling at Keene State in the semi-finals last Friday, 2-0.

"Getting selected to the ECAC Tournament was a pleasant surprise," said Lisack. "We're looking forward to playing against Bates, and hope we can win the whole ECAC Tournament. Now our season starts over, and this is single elimination so anything can happen. A lot of people would think this is payback for not making the post-season last year, but this has nothing to do with last year. This is a totally different team."

PSC will be facing a Bates team that earned its third straight visit to the ECAC Tournament. The Bobcats have made five consecutive trips to the post-season and 10 in the past 11 years. It will be Bates' 10th overall appearance in the ECAC Tournament, having won the championship three times, most recently in 1998.

The Panthers feature a solid defensive squad, one that limited opponents to 22 goals in 19 outings. Junior keeper Becky Kennedy (West Springfield, Mass.) has a 1.14 goals against average with four shutouts, and has a solid unit in front of her, led by senior co-captain Mary Young (Rockland, Mass.) and junior Jill Wolters (Vernon, NJ).

Junior forward Carrie Poulin (Westfield, Mass.) anchors an offense that scored 40 goals in 19 matches. Poulin found the net 14 times this season, and had five multiple-goal games. She ranks third on the school's all-time goal scoring list with 38 strikes.

PSC also has a strong freshman class, led by starters Cathy Berei (Pennington, N.J.), Kate Van Tassel (Natick, Mass.) and Becky Callery (Gill, Mass.).