LEADERSHIP FROM two New Hampshire residents has helped the Plymouth State men’s hockey team go unbeaten through its first eight games (7-0-1), and Plymouth State coach Craig Russell said leadership roles filled by two New Hampshire residents have played a large role in the team’s early success.
Forward Quinn Carroll, a senior from Amherst, is the team’s captain, and Portsmouth’s Cam Cundy, a senior defenseman, is one of three assistant captains.
“I don’t think you can have a really strong year without having strong captains,” Russell said. “I’m not sure you’ll find a better leader than Quinn. He’s in his second year as a captain and was an assistant captain the year before. He’s a tireless worker and sets a really nice tone for our group. He’s essentially a coach in a player’s uniform.
“Cam has really blossomed into a leader. If you would have asked me when he was a freshman or sophomore if he was going to be a captain I would have said, ‘Not a chance.’ I don’t mean that to be negative, he just didn’t show exceptional leadership qualities back then. Now he wears an ‘A’ for us. He keeps it much more light than the other guys.”
Senior defenseman Nic LeFave and junior forward Alec LeFave, brothers from Hudson, are the other New Hampshire residents on this year’s team, which entered the week ranked 15th in both national polls (USCHO.com and D3hockey.com).
“There’s not a team in either poll that scares me,” Russell said. “I don’t think our program gets the respect it deserves in the bigger picture. We have to do a better job earning that respect.”
The Panthers, who were scheduled to play at Westfield State on Saturday night, have outscored their opponents 45-14 this season. Starting goaltender Evan Morelli has a 1.55 goals-against average.
Plymouth State has two first-round losses in the Division III NCAA tournament during Russell’s nine seasons as head coach. The Panthers, who have scored 23 goals in their last three games, could have a chance to collect the program’s first NCAA tournament victory this season.
“Our high-end talent is better than it’s ever been,” Russell said. “A lot of people talk about our offense, but our defensive-zone play in general has been really strong. We’ve been able to put together consistent performances. Our special teams play, our power play and (penalty kill) have been really good.
“We’ve got a chance to put ourselves on the map this year. I think our group is hoping to do some big things.”
Brookline’s Cassandra Stapelfeld, a guard on the Simmons University women’s basketball team, was named the New England Women’s Basketball Association Player of the Week and to the D3hoops.com Team of the Week after she averaged 28.0 points per contest in three games played during the week that ended Nov. 25.
Stapelfeld, who transferred to Simmons from Endicott College in the offseason, graduated from Hollis/Brookline High School. Through six games she ranked 18th nationally and was fourth in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference with an average of 22.7 points per game.
Nashua’s Taylor Choate was averaging 10.3 points per contest for the Bowdoin women’s basketball team through the team’s first four games this season. Bowdoin, which finished as the Division III runner-up in 2017-18, entered last week as the No. 1 team in the nation in both Division III national polls.
Choate, a senior guard, holds the Nashua North career scoring record with 1,343 points. She was Miss New Hampshire Basketball in 2015.
Litchfield’s Sydney Crema, a member of the Southern New Hampshire University women’s soccer team, was named to the United Soccer Coaches’ Association All-East Region Third Team on Wednesday.
Crema collected 17 points (four goals and nine assists) in 20 games, and led the team in assists. She had multiple assists in three games, and set up the game-winning goal twice.
Bentley University’s Mark Zoda was named the Northeast-10 Conference’s Swimming Rookie of the Week for the week that ended Nov. 18. Zoda, a Nashua resident who attended Bishop Guertin High School, led Bentley to a 172-122 victory at Brandeis by placing first in the 50-yard freestyle (21.97 seconds) and the 200 free (1:46.09). He was also part of the Falcons’ winning 200 free relay team (1:27.73) and finished second in the 100 free (48.29).
Manchester Central graduate Jaylen LeRoy tossed in a team-high 23 points in an 87-76 victory at Castleton State on Wednesday to become the 31st player in Plymouth State University men’s basketball history to reach 1,000 career points. LeRoy entered the game with 977 career points and reached the milestone with a driving layup with two minutes remaining.
Junior Hannah Larochelle (New Boston) and sophomore Emma Bennett (Hampstead) are among the members of the WPI field hockey team who made the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Academic All-Conference Team, which was announced earlier this week.
Lebanon’s Kendra MacDonald, a senior defender on the University of New England field hockey team, was named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division III All-Region First Team in New England East section Wednesday.