Panthers to open play Sept. 1
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University women's soccer team was selected to finish sixth in the Little East Conference (LEC) after a vote by the league's head coaches.
Western Connecticut State University was chosen as the preseason favorite by a slim margin over in-state rival Eastern Connecticut State and Keene State. The Colonials finished with 44 total points and three first place votes, with ECSU also taking home three first place votes and 43 total points. Keene State had the final two first place votes for a total of 42 points.
The Panthers, who opened last season with a seven game unbeaten streak, had 20 points to finish just behind UMass Boston (21 points).
PSU enjoyed a successful 2016 campaign, finishing with a 9-6-3 mark and advancing to the LEC semifinals for the first time since the 2001 season. The nine wins were the program's most since 2003.
Senior captain Kate Martin (Westmoreland, N.H.) will play a big role in 2017. The 5-6 midfielder is the top returning scorer after netting four goals and nine points last fall. Co-captain Adrianna Kippenberger (Wilmington, Mass.) will anchor the defense and head coach Ryan Joy is expecting all of the newcomers to contribute.
"We have a great group of incoming players who we recruited to come in and contribute right away," said Joy. "I can't single anyone out – we brought all of them in for a reason."
The biggest difference on the field will be the graduation of stellar goalkeeper Annaliese Schmidt, last year's LEC Defensive Player of the Year.
"No one can avoid the loss of the best goalkeeper in the LEC the last four years," said Joy. "Not having Annaliese in goal is going to change the way we win games, but we have three goalkeepers here. A starter hasn't been determined at this point because it's been very competitive so far. All three will get some time until one of them separates herself from the rest."
The Panthers open the 2017 season at home on Arold Field on Friday, Sept. 1 against the University of Maine Farmington (2:00 p.m.). The LEC slate begins on Saturday, Sept. 16.
The top six teams in the final regular season standings will participate in the 2017 LEC Women's Soccer Championship, with the top two seeds earning first round byes to the semifinals. The winner of the LEC Championship will earn the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
2017 LEC Volleyball Preseason Coaches' Poll
(First Place Votes in Parentheses)
|1.||Western Connecticut State (3)||44 points|
|2.||Eastern Connecticut State (3)||43 points|
|3.||Keene State (2)||42 points|
|4.||UMass Dartmouth||30 points|
|5.||UMass Boston||21 points|
|6.||Plymouth State||20 points|
|7.||Rhode Island College||14 points|
|8.||Southern Maine||10 points|
– 30 –