PSU to Face Ithaca College in NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Tournament

May 4th, 2004 by Adam

After capturing its fifth consecutive
conference championship, the Plymouth State University women’s
lacrosse team moves on to the national tournament this weekend
with a trip to the second round of the NCAA Division III

undefeated Panthers (16-0) received a first-round bye, and will
face Ithaca College (12-4) this Saturday in a regional semifinal
at Amherst, Mass. The other semifinal features defending
national champion Amherst College (14-2) against the winner of
Wednesday’s first-round game between Western New England College
(14-3) and Scranton (13-4). The semifinal winners will meet
at 1 p.m. Sunday for the regional title with a trip to the
NCAA Final Four at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y., at

State, ranked 12th in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse
Coaches Association Division III poll, captured its third
straight Little East Conference Championship May 1, defeating
rival Keene State College in the title game, 9-5. The
Panthers recorded their school-record 16th victory of the season,
and extended their overall winning streak to 25 games, dating
back to last season.

will be the third NCAA appearance for Plymouth State in the last
five years. The Panthers advanced to the tournament in 2000
and 2001 after winning New England Women’s Lacrosse
Alliance titles, but were defeated both times in the
first round by Middlebury College.

been working very hard for this for quite a while,” said
PSU coach Wynne Lobel, who gathered her team together for Sunday
night’s official NCAA announcement. It’s exciting to be
recognized and acknowledged as one of the top teams in the
country. It affirmed to people that hard work does pay off,
and that makes us really proud.”

PSU -Ithaca second-round match-up features former teammates as
the head coaches. Lobel, who is in her fourth season at
Plymouth State, is a 1993 graduate of Ithaca, and third-year
Bombers head coach Karen Hollands is a 1994 graduate. They
were teammates on both the field hockey and lacrosse teams at the
central New York school, competing together in the 1993 NCAA
Lacrosse tourney.

ranked 18th in the IWLCA Division III poll, comes into the NCAA
Tournament after defeating Nazareth College last Saturday in the
Empire 8 Championship, 9-8. (Nazareth (13-3) received an
at-large berth in the NCAAs despite the loss.) The Bombers are
making their seventh appearance in the NCAA Tournament since
1989, and third in the past four years. Ithaca won a
first-round game 9-8 over St. Mary’s (Md.) in 2001 before losing
to Amherst (13-6) in the national quarterfinals, and the Bombers
were defeated in the first round last season by Williams, 7-5.

York lacrosse is good lacrosse,” said Lobel. “They
consistently play at a high level. The games that prepared
us for this are Bowdoin and the LEC Tournament. Those games
were great competition.”

Panther offense, which is ranked third in the nation with over 16
goals a game, is led by senior Katie Sheridan (West Sayville,
N.Y.), the three-time Little East Conference Offensive Player of
the Year. Sheridan, who was the LEC Tournament Most
Outstanding Player, is one of the nation’s scoring leaders with
98 points (73 goals, 25 assists). She is also one of
Division III’s all-time scoring leaders, as she is now tied for
fifth on the career goals list with 264, and is 10th in the
career points department with 348.

also gets plenty of offense from seniors Michelle Norton
(Sandwich, Mass.) and Jill Matteson (Chatham, Mass.), sophomores
Bethany Brown (Norwich, Conn.) and Nicole Evans (Scituate,
Mass.), and freshmen Kelsey MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, Mass.) and Meg
Cupoli (Southboro, Mass.)Brown has scored 45 goals,
Norton 35, MacDonald 28 and Evans 26, while Cupoli has 22
assists, second-most on the team.

Panther defense, which is among the national leaders with just
over six goals allowed per game, is backboned by senior goalie
Carmen Villanueva (East Schodack, N.Y.), the two-time LEC
Defensive Player of the Year.She has a 38-4 career record,
and is among the NCAA leaders with a 6.17 goals against average
and a .627 saves percentage.

Villanueva has an outstanding defensive unit in from of her,
which consists of senior Cathy Berei (Trenton, N.J.), sophomore
Megan OdNeil (Scituate, Mass.), and freshmen Steph Blanchette
(Sudbury, Mass.) and Amanda Spadafora (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.).
The group allowed only three teams to score in double
figures this season.

Plymouth State also made ECAC Tournament appearances the last two
years, as the Little East Conference champion did not have an
automatic bid until this season. PSU won the ECAC New
England Championship last spring after finishing runner-up in