Nov. 1, 2012
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - Lafayette has stood out as the top team in the Patriot League all season, and on Thursday the No. 12-ranked Leopards racked up the hardware to prove it as three individuals won major awards and six were named to the Field Hockey All-Patriot League Team in voting conducted by the League's six head coaches.
Senior forward Deanna DiCroce repeated as the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year, while sophomore Jessica Deutsch was named the League's Goalkeeper of the Year and Andrew Griffiths won his first Patriot League Coach of the Year award.
The remaining individual honors went to student-athletes from American, with senior Gina Hofmann claiming the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year honor and freshman Julie Fosseprez named Patriot League Rookie of the Year.
Lafayette also led all schools with six All-Patriot League selections, including four on the first team. DiCroce was part of the group, becoming just the fourth player in Patriot League history to earn first-team All-League honors in each of her four seasons. American and Bucknell each had five All-Patriot League players with a pair on the first team, while Colgate, Holy Cross and Lehigh all had an individual on both the first and second team.
DiCroce had a stellar senior season to cap an outstanding career. She leads all Patriot League players with 15 goals and 44 points, placing her among the national leaders in goals, points and assists (14). DiCroce tallied four goals and three assists over the weekend to bring her career totals even higher in the Patriot League record book. She stands in a tie for second in League history in assists (42) and points (142), and is tied for fifth all-time in goals (50). DiCroce did her best work in Patriot League action, leading all players with nine goals and 22 points to pace the Leopards to their first undefeated League campaign since 2002. She earned four Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week awards, tying a single-season record, and ends her career with a League record 10 offensive weekly honors.
DiCroce is the fourth repeat winner of the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year award, and second in a row after American's Christine Fingerhuth earned the honor in 2009 and 2010. She is also the second repeat winner from Lafayette, following Megan Monahan's awards in 2001 and 2002. It is the League-best eighth all-time Offensive Player of the Year award for Lafayette to go with two Player of the Year honors for Suzi Farrell in 1990 and 1991.
Hofmann enjoyed a strong senior season to win the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year honor. She led the League with 61 shots, and tied for eighth with 17 points on four goals and nine assists, which was tied for fourth in the League. Hofmann helped pace an American defense that allowed 1.89 goals per game against a tough schedule, with the Eagles giving up only eight goals while going 4-1 in the Patriot League. She won three Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week awards, giving her six for her career. Hofmann is American's second consecutive Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year winner after Tatum Dyer claimed the honor last season, and the seventh recipient in the last eight seasons.
DiCroce and Hofmann lived up to their billing coming into the season, as they were selected as the Patriot League Preseason Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively, by coaches and sports information directors in August.
Deutsch led the Leopards to one of the finest regular seasons in Patriot League history by putting together one of the best goals against averages in the nation. She backstopped Lafayette to a 0.87 goals against average for the year, with just two goals allowed in Patriot League action and none in the past five games. Deutsch personally put up a 0.93 goals against average with a League-best three shutouts, and also paced the conference with a .763 save percentage. She had a 0.48 goals against average while winning all five Patriot League games for the Leopards, and claimed the Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week award four times. Deutsch is the second Leopard to win the Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year award, following Kesley Anderson who took home the honor in 2009.
Fosseprez had five assists on the season for the Eagles, but it was her contributions in the midfield that helped the team to another high finish in the Patriot League. She came on strong late in the year to lift the Eagles to wins in six of their last eight games, including their final four Patriot League contests to place second in the standings with a 4-1 mark. Two of her assists came in League play, and Fosseprez won a pair of Rookie of the Week awards during the season. Fosseprez is American's fifth Rookie of the Year winner, and first since Tatum Dyer claimed the honor in 2008.
Griffiths led the Leopards to one of the best regular seasons in Patriot League history, as Lafayette enters the Patriot League Tournament with a 13-game winning streak and 15-1 overall record. The only blemish came against a top ten Penn State team by a 3-2 final on Sept. 2, and since Lafayette has defeated a pair of ranked opponents in Drexel and Albany. Lafayette put together a dominant season where it averaged 4.00 goals per game while giving up only 0.88 per contest. The Leopards outscored Patriot League opponents by a combined margin of 27-2 while posting their first undefeated League campaign since 2002. Lafayette will try to defend its Patriot League title on its home field this weekend, hosting the League Tournament for the first time since 2002.
Griffiths wins his first Patriot League Coach of the Year award, and the sixth for Lafayette after Ann Gold won the honor five times from 1990-02. It is the first time since 2004 that someone other than American Head Coach Steve Jennings won the Coach of the Year honor.
Lafayette's trio of individual award winners were all unanimously selected by their peers.
DiCroce headlines the first-team All-Patriot League squad as the fourth player in League history to earn first-team honors in each of her four seasons. She joins an elite group that also includes Bucknell's Almira Baldwin (1990-93), American's Camila Infante (2003-06) and Lafayette's Meghan Cicchi (2007-10). DiCroce is one of four Leopards on the squad, and was joined by Deutsch, senior Emily Valeo and sophomore Brittany Blass. Valeo led the Patriot League and ranks among the national leaders with 17 assists, while Blass set a Patriot League single-season record with six Defensive Player of the Week awards.
American had a pair of players on the first team, with junior Shelly Montgomery (14 goals, 3 assists) joining Hofmann. Bucknell placed sophomore Kelsey Mucelli (9 assists) and senior Tayler Siegrist (8 goals, 6 assists) on the first team, while the squad was also filled out by Colgate sophomore Eliana Brown (8 goals), Holy Cross junior Carly Grimaudo (7 goals, 3 assists) and Lehigh senior Kim Eng (8 goals, 6 assists).
Second-team All-Patriot League honors went American's Jaclyn Anspach (7 goals), Rebecca Treharne (1 goals, 2 assists) and Fosseprez, Bucknell's Erica Perrine (1.82 GAA), Vickie Resh (1 goal) and Rachel Misko (6 goals, 5 assists), Colgate's Adriana Libutti (1 goal, 4 assists), Holy Cross' Michelle McNeil (2 goals, 1 assist), Lafayette's Jenna Seybert (9 goals, 6 assists) and Jaclyn White, and Lehigh's Lindsay Metzger (8 goals, 1 assist).
DiCroce, Valeo, Deutsch, Montgomery, Hofmann, Mucelli and Eng were all unanimous first-team selections by the coaches. Hofmann and Eng were named to the first team for the third time, while Valeo, Montgomery and Misko were each selected to their third All-Patriot League Team as well.
The 2012 Patriot League Field Hockey Tournament will be played this weekend at Rappolt Field beginning with Friday's semifinals as No. 4 seed Colgate plays No. 1 Lafayette at 12 p.m. and No. 3 Bucknell takes on No. 2 American at 3:30 p.m. The winners meet for the Patriot League Championship on Saturday at 3 p.m. The entire tournament is available with live streaming through the Patriot League All-Access package.
2012 Patriot League Field Hockey Major Awards
Offensive Player of the Year: Deanna DiCroce, Lafayette (Sr., F)*
Defensive Player of the Year: Gina Hofmann, American (Sr., D)
Goalkeeper of the Year: Jessica Deutsch, Lafayette (So., GK)*
Rookie of the Year: Julie Fosseprez, American (Fr., M)
Coach of the Year: Andrew Griffiths, Lafayette*
* - unanimous selection
First-Team All-Patriot League
Shelly Montgomery, American (Jr., M)*
Gina Hofmann, American (Sr., D)*
Kelsey Mucelli, Bucknell (So., M)*
Tayler Siegrist, Bucknell (Sr., D)
Eliana Brown, Colgate (So., F)
Carly Grimaudo, Holy Cross (Jr. F)
Deanna DiCroce, Lafayette (Sr., F)*
Emily Valeo, Lafayette (Sr., M/D)*
Brittany Blass, Lafayette (So., M)
Jessica Deutsch, Lafayette (So., GK)*
Kim Eng, Lehigh (Sr., F)*
* - unanimous first-team selection
Second-Team All-Patriot League
Jaclyn Anspach, American (Jr., F)
Rebecca Treharne, American (So., M)
Julie Fosseprez, American (Fr., M)
Erica Perrine, Bucknell (Jr., GK)
Vickie Resh, Bucknell (Jr., M)
Rachel Misko, Bucknell (Jr., F)
Adriana Libutti, Colgate (Sr., D)
Michelle McNeil, Holy Cross (Fr., M)
Jenna Seybert, Lafayette (So., D)
Jaclyn White, Lafayette (Sr., M/D)
Lindsay Metzger, Lehigh (So., F)