Panthers open new era under coach Cindy Bennett
|Head Coach Cindy Bennett|
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – A new era begins this Saturday for the Plymouth State University women’s soccer program as the Panthers make their 2010 season debut at Fitchburg State University under new head coach Cindy Bennett.
After Saturday’s opener, PSU will play its first home game on Tuesday, Sept. 7, kicking off against Simmons College at 6:00 p.m. Following three more non-conference games, including two at home against Green Mountain College and Colby-Sawyer College, the Panthers will open Little East Conference play on Saturday, Sept. 18, at rival Keene State College.
Coach Bennett, who arrived at PSU last month after a stint as assistant coach at Colby-Sawyer, has 15 returning veterans back from last year’s squad along with 11 newcomers. The Panthers will be looking to improve upon last season’s 6-9-2 overall record and 1-6-0 mark in the Little East.
The Panthers will play a 17-game regular season schedule in 2010, including seven Little East contests. The annual LEC Tournament is slated for the first week of November, with the champion receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Plymouth State is seeking its first LEC women’s soccer championship since capturing seven straight conference titles from 1990-96.
2010 PSU Women’s Soccer Outlook
Coach Bennett spent the first part of preseason getting to know the team. She says the arrival of a new coach has given a new level of energy to the team.
“Getting here in August ended up being a good thing,” said Bennett, “because I kind of came in with a blind eye. I didn’t know what I had to work with. But we definitely have some talent, and they have embraced what I’m giving them. We’re getting better every session, and we’re looking forward to the season. I think we’re going to turn some heads.”
Bennett has moved a couple players around to bulk up the defense, an area the coach says will be one of the team’s strength.
“We have a good returning goalkeeper and a pretty solid back line,” says Bennett. “We’ll be more defensive oriented and play a more possession style of play, and with a good understanding of the game hopefully we’ll be able to create more attacking opportunities. They’ve embraced the change that I have given them and done well with what I’ve asked them to do.”
Junior goalkeeper Angelina LaBroad (Hampton, N.H./Winnacunnet) is a returning veteran who has started 20 games the past two seasons. She is likely to lead the way again this fall.
“She has good athleticism, and gives you everything she has,” said Bennett, a former goalkeeper. “Goalkeepers can win games for teams and she has the potential to do that for us.”
Junior co-captain Katie Lozano (Woolwich, Maine/Morse) is a top returnee on the defensive side of the field. She will be joined by classmates Sarah Pandiscio (Simsbury, Conn.) and Amy Green (Atkinson, N.H./Timberlane), who have shifted from midfield back to defense. Freshman Shannon Snively (Fremont, N.H./Sanborn Regional) looks like the top newcomer in the back.
The top Panthers in the midfield are looking like junior Eliza Roy-Webb (Durham, N.H./Oyster River) and junior transfer Sammi Jo Saltalamacchia (Sandown, N.H./Timberlane Regional), according to Bennett. Several returnees will also see plenty of playing time, including juniors Kelsey Marvin (Elizabethtown, N.Y./Elizabethtown-Lewis Central), Courtney Marvin (Elizabethtown, N.Y./Elizabethtown-Lewis Central), Charlotte Miller (Bedford, N.H./Bishop Brady) and Julia Redman (Plaistow, N.H./Timberlane Regional), and senior co-captain Rachel Kindl (Granby, Conn.).
The notable new players in the midfield, says Bennett, appear to be freshmen Anna Lozano (Woolwich, Maine/Morse) and Laura Davis (Pelham, N.Y./Pelham).
Senior co-captain Rebecca Wilson (Clinton, Conn./The Morgan School) leads a group of athletic forwards for the Panthers. Wilson led the team and ranked fourth in the conference last season with 11 goals, earning Second Team All-LEC honors. Heading the group of newcomers are freshmen Carol Messler (Durham, N.H./Oyster River) and Molly Todd (Epsom, N.H./Bishop Brady).
“If we keep improving like we have in the preseason, I’m excited,” says Bennett. “They get better every training session. They work hard and they have good team chemistry. You put all those things together and good things happen.”
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