Panthers eyeing fourth-straight title
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University women's lacrosse team is the preseason favorite to earn a fourth consecutive Little East Conference (LEC) title as the league announced the results of its Preseason Coaches' Poll following a vote of the conference's eight head coaches.
Plymouth State, winners of the last three LEC Tournaments, took home five first place votes for 53 total points. WestConn was a close second with 51 points and two first place votes, while Southern Maine (43) was picked third and received the final first place vote.
Keene State (41), Castleton (27) and Eastern Connecticut (26) were picked fourth, fifth and sixth, while UMass Dartmouth (20) nipped Rhode Island College (19) for seventh.
Fourth-year head coach Sandy Bridgeman has experienced nothing but success since taking the reins prior to the start of the 2016-17 school year. She has posted an overall record of 37-14 while going 18-1 in the Little East Conference, including back-to-back undefeated regular seasons. The Panthers have captured three straight tournament titles, made three straight NCAA Tournaments and blew past New England College, 19-3, to advance to the second round last year.
PSU graduated eight players from last season's team, including four All-LEC honorees and the Offensive Player of the Year. Perhaps the biggest question Bridgeman faces is where the offense will come from as last year's senior class accounted for 131 of the team's 193 goals.
One likely source is senior Sydney Dubois (Goffstown, N.H.), a two-time All-LEC recipient, who was second on the team with 33 goals and 41 points last spring. Sophomores Hannah Chartier (Weare, N.H.) and Devon Mello (Laconia, N.H.) tallied four goals apiece a year ago, but the pair will be looked to for additional scoring this season.
Defensively the team will rely heavily on junior Faye Brown (Londonderry, N.H.) who earned All-LEC First Team recognition last season after anchoring the conference's top defense. Her play was a significant reason the Panthers allowed just 5.86 goals per game, easily the best mark in the conference. Classmate Meaghan Allard (Amherst, N.H.) was one of the league's top goalies, posting a 9.15 goals against average that was second lowest in the LEC despite playing easily the most challenging schedule in the conference.
Plymouth State kicks off the season at Wentworth on Feb. 26 and celebrates its home opener April 4 against Rhode Island College.
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