Panthers looking to take next step following last season's success
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University women's tennis team was picked to finish second in the Little East Conference (LEC) in 2019 following a vote of the league's ten head coaches.
Two-time defending champion Rhode Island College was the unanimous choice to finish atop the conference once again, garnering nine first place votes for 81 points. Plymouth State took the final first place vote to finish second with 68 points.
Salem State (58 points) was picked third, with Bridgewater State and UMass Dartmouth tied for fourth with 52 points apiece. Worcester State earned 45 points to finish sixth ahead of WestConn's 34 points. UMass Boston (27 points), Southern Maine (21 points) and Castleton (12 points) occupied the bottom three spots in the poll.
Head coach Barbara Rawlsky-Willett is hoping the Panthers will take the next step after posting a 12-3 record, finishing second in the LEC and advancing to the championship round of the conference tournament a year ago. The 12 wins were the second most in program history, while the team matched a school record with 8 wins in conference play (8-1).
Juniors Sage Winter (New Castle, N.H.), Maggie McCarthy (Marion, Mass.) and Jenna Sundquist (Monument Beach, Mass.) will serve as the team's tri-captains. Winter returns after taking home All-LEC First Team honors each of the last two seasons. The former LEC Rookie of the Year went 5-4 in LEC singles play last fall, playing exclusively at No. 1. She and McCarthy teamed up to go 10-4 at No. 1 doubles (8-1 in LEC action) and were honored with First Team recognition.
Junior Kerstin Venincasa (Sutton, Mass.) led the Panthers with an 11-3 singles mark last season, while Sundquist posted a 9-5 record. The duo joined forces to make a formidable pairs team, cruising to an 11-2 mark in doubles play.
Rawlsky-Willett expects an impressive group of newcomers to help push PSU over the top on the way to its fourth LEC title.
The Panthers dive right into conference action as they play host to Bridgewater State on Saturday, Sept. 7. First serve is slated for 1:00 p.m. at the Holderness School Tennis Courts.
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