Youthful Panthers aim to sneak up on competition
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University women's tennis team was picked fifth in the Little East Conference (LEC) Preseason Coaches' Poll, as announced by the league office.
The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (58 points) narrowly edged out Rhode Island College (57 points) for the top spot, with Bridgewater State (54 points) a close third. PSU and UMass Boston both finished with 33 points.
"We are very young, with seven new freshmen on the roster," said head coach Barbara Rawlsky-Willett, who enters her 14th season atop the program. "The group is very competitive and has been working hard during preseason. I expect to see more changes in the lineup as more challenge matches are played."
PSU will rely heavily on its newcomers, as five of the top six players will be rookies. Freshmen Sage Winter (New Castle, N.H.), Maggie McCarthy (Marion, Mass.), Kerstin Venincasa (Sutton, Mass.), Jenna Sundquist (Monument Beach, Mass.) and Chloe Knapp (Jamestown, N.Y.) will join junior Megan Wheeler (Manchester, N.H.) to form a formidable top-six.
Wheeler, who posted a 6-3 mark last fall, and classmate Lily O'Connor (Salem, N.H.) will captain the squad, which has no seniors.
"I am hoping all of the freshmen gain some solid collegiate playing experience," added Rawlsky-Willett. "We can be extremely competitive in the future."
PSU will open play at home on Friday, Sept. 1 against Lyndon State with matches to be played at the Holderness School. LEC play begins on Saturday, Sept. 9.
The top six teams in the final regular season standings will participate in the 2017 LEC Women's Tennis 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 Women's Tennis Preseason Coaches' Poll
(First Place Votes in Parentheses)
|1.||UMass Dartmouth (3)||58 points|
|2.||Rhode Island College (3)||57 points|
|3.||Bridgewater State (3)||54 points|
|4.||Worcester State||38 points|
|5.||Plymouth State||33 points|
|UMass Boston||33 points|
|7.||Western Connecticut State||23 points|
|8.||Salem State||18 points|
|9.||Southern Maine||9 points|
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