The New Conference Rivals: Plymouth State

The New Conference Rivals: Plymouth State

Plymouth State University

Founded: 1871
Enrollment: 4,065
President: Donald Birx
Director of Athletics: Kim Bownes
Nickname: Panthers
Colors: Green and White
Location: Plymouth, N.H.
Distance from Castleton: 103 Miles

PLYMOUTH, N.H. – If there is one school from the Little East Conference that Castleton fans should be familiar with, it is Plymouth State University.

For the ninth straight year, the two schools will open the football season against each other as the Spartans host the Panthers Saturday, Sept. 1, at 1 p.m. The two institutions face each other annually in ice hockey and wrestling, and many of the other sports have featured Castleton-Plymouth State non-conference matchups, highlighted by a basketball doubleheader between the two schools on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving for 15 consecutive years.

Now, Castleton and Plymouth State will be league rivals in 17 more sports upon the Spartans' entry into the Little East Conference. Castleton faces a Panther program that finished sixth in the LEC Commissioner's Cup for its performance in athletics, but also one that won the LEC Presidents' Cup for the first time after combining for a 3.11 grade point average in 2017-18.

Most of Plymouth State's athletic facilities are within or close to the Physical Education Center. The volleyball and basketball teams play within the PE Center in Foley Gymnasium, while most of the outdoor sports host contests on surrounding fields such as Arold Field (soccer, women's lacrosse), Currier Field (men's lacrosse), D&M Park (softball), and Parish Field (baseball).

In 2017-18, Plymouth State saw success in the spring season, highlighted by the women's lacrosse team's undefeated 6-0 league record on its way to the LEC Tournament title, ending up 14-4 overall. The softball team finished first in the regular season standings at 11-3, earning the right to host the LEC Tournament, where it eventually lost in the championship game to end the year at 26-15.

In the fall, the Panther women's cross country team finished second at the LEC Championships, while the men ended up in fourth place. The field hockey team went 8-3 within the Little East to finish in a tie for second place, part of a 12-6 overall record, while the women's tennis team finished in a tie for fourth place at 5-3 as part of a 10-5 overall mark.

The women's soccer team finished fifth in the Little East at 3-4 within the league and 6-10 overall, and the men's soccer squad went 1-6 within the league to end up in a tie for seventh place, part of a 7-9 overall record. The volleyball team posted a 19-11 overall record, including a 4-3 LEC mark to finish in a tie for third place.

The men's indoor track and field team posted the best winter result for Plymouth State, finishing in third place, while the women's squad finished seventh. The women's basketball team went 3-11 within the league for seventh place and 7-19 overall, including a last-second loss to Castleton Nov. 21 (53-52), and the men's basketball team ended up eighth in the Little East at 2-12 as part of a 10-16 record, including a 100-93 loss to the Spartans on Nov. 21.

At the LEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships, the Plymouth State women repeated their seventh place finish, while the Panther men ended up in fourth place. The men's lacrosse team finished in a tie for third place at 4-3 within the league, posting an 8-10 overall record, and the baseball team finished in a tie for fifth place, concluding the season 5-9 within the LEC and 16-19 overall.

The first conference contest between Castleton and Plymouth State will take place Tuesday, Sept. 25, when the Spartans host the Panthers in field hockey. The Spartan men's soccer team will make the first trip to Plymouth for a Little East contest Wednesday, Oct. 10, the same day that Castleton hosts Plymouth State in women's soccer.

One final schedule note: with the Little East basketball season starting in late November, the Spartans will host the Panthers in a doubleheader at Glenbrook Gym Wednesday, Nov. 28, the Wednesday after Thanksgiving and just over one week removed from the previous day of the doubleheader since the start of the 21st century.  

1) The Little East Conference
2) Eastern Connecticut State
3) Keene State
4) UMass Boston
5) UMass Dartmouth