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Thursday, May 3, 2012

PSU freshman living up to Connerty lacrosse legacy

For a freshman athlete, it would be difficult to imagine a better start to a college career than the one Nashua’s Shannon Connerty is experiencing this spring as a lacrosse player at Plymouth State University.

Connerty is having a sensational debut. She leads the team in scoring with 50 goals and has been Little East Rookie of the Week on several occasions.

Her latest award came Monday, after she scored seven goals in two victories over Southern Maine and Rhode Island College last week. Connerty ranks third in the league in scoring at 3.6 goals per game.

Not only is Connerty succeeding, so is her team. After losing the season opener 17-15 in overtime against Springfield, the Panthers have won 13 straight, capturing the top seed in the upcoming Little East Tournament.

Not bad for a team that was 7-8 last year, including 2-4 in conference play.

“It’s been beyond my expectations,’’ Connerty said. “I didn’t expect the individual recognition or the team to do as well as we have. We’re still very young.’’

Connerty credits third-year coach Kristin Blanchette with turning the Panthers into a Division III power. Blanchette – a 2006 graduate of the University of New Hampshire where she was a standout midfielder – was an assistant at both Brown and the University of Massachusetts before taking over at Plymouth.

While both of her sisters were standout lacrosse players at Nashua High School South, Connerty spent most of her high school years at Tyngsborough (Mass.), where her father is a teacher and coach.

“Academically, a smaller school was a better fit for me,” said Connerty, who was a 100-point scorer for Tyngsborough her senior year.

And while Connerty said she always wanted to play Division I college lacrosse, Blanchette convinced her that Plymouth was a great fit.

Connerty had plenty of family history to help her decide. Her sister Kerry played for Nashua when it was a powerhouse program before the split. She went on to have a great career at UMass Amherst, finishing as the ninth highest scorer in school history.

Sister Jackie Connerty was a standout at Plymouth, graduating in 2008.

“It’s a great combination for me,” Connerty said, “a small campus and a great athletic program. I couldn’t imagine not playing lacrosse.”

Bill Ferriter

Junior center fielder Bill Ferriter of Nashua continues to have an outstanding year for the University of Connecticut baseball team.

Ferriter leads the Huskies in batting at .356, hits with 63, steals with 20 in 25 attempts and has a team-best .431 on-base percentage.

Kevin McGowan

Franklin Pierce sophomore Kevin McGowan improved his record to 5-1 Saturday with a 15-3 complete-game victory over Merrimack. McGowan, who struck out 12, allowed just four hits and no walks. Only one of the runs was earned. On the season he has a 2.67 ERA with 61 strikeouts and just 10 walks in 52 innings.

Bekah Jackson

Nashua High School North graduate Bekah Jackson continues to have a record breaking year for the Plymouth State University softball team.

The red-shirt freshman recently set a school record with her 55th hit. She’s upped the total to 59 while leading the Panthers in batting average (.447), runs (43) and doubles (14). She leads the Little East Conference in both hits and doubles and has the fourth highest batting average.

Lorin Field

Sophomore goalkeeper Lorin Field continues to be save over 50 percent of the shots she faces for the Plymouth State University women’s lacrosse team.

The Panthers are 13-1 and Field has a league-best goals against average of 7.89 and also tops the Little East in save percentage at .542. She had a .519 save percentage last year as a freshman starter.

Julia Nolan

Freshman pitcher Julia Nolan of Litchfield has a 4-1 record in 16 relief appearances with the Keene State softball team.

Nolan has 45 strikeouts in 342⁄3 innings, while allowing 28 hits and 19 walks. She has a 2.83 ERA and opponents are hitting just .217 against the Campbell graduate.

Christian Ferlan

Christian Ferlan of Litchfield, a freshman on the Muhlenberg University baseball team, finished the season with a 4-3 record as a starting pitcher. The Bishop Guertin graduate had a 6.84 ERA, allowing 64 hits in 522⁄3 innings. He struck out 36 and walked 15.