Trinity’s Leonhard Named Player of the Year
HADLEY, Mass. - Trinity senior midfielder Megan Leonhard has been chosen by the conference coaches as the 2013 NESCAC Player of the Year. Leonhard's recognition marks the third consecutive year a Bantam has taken home the award, joining former teammates Liz Bruno and Rachel Romanowsky, the 2012 and 2011 Players of the Year, respectively. Leonhard has helped navigate the defending national champions through an undefeated schedule (17-0, 10-0 NESCAC), claiming its third straight NESCAC title in the process.
For the third time in her career, Leonhard earned NESCAC All-Conference honors, making the First Team each of the past three seasons. Leonhard has been at the heart of the Trinity midfield, as the Bantams are riding a 25-game win streak. Making use of her skills on both offense and defense, Leonhard leads the team with 35 goals and is second with 39 points, while tied for first in the NESCAC with 29 caused turnovers, ranking second with 51 draw controls and adding 30 ground balls. Among Trinity’s all-time leaders, Leonhard currently ranks first with 176 draw controls, is tied for second with 177 ground balls, and is tied for third with 168 goals.
Joining Leonhard in the midfield are seniors Kate Pistel of Colby and Margaret Souther of Middlebury. Pistel is appearing on the First Team for the third year in a row, putting together a solid all-around season with 22 goals and 10 assists for 32 points, to go along with 19 ground balls, 12 draw controls and 14 caused turnovers. Souther, who garnered her second straight First Team honor, is third in the NESCAC with 55 points on 36 goals and 19 assists. She has posted a team-best 20 caused turnover and is in the top-five among her teammates with 26 ground balls and 30 draw controls.
The attackers on the First Team come from five different teams. Colby junior Lindsey McKenna and Bowdoin senior Carolyn Gorajek are both making a return to the First Team. McKenna collects her third All-NESCAC recognition, having been a Second Team selection in her debut season. The 2011 NESCAC Rookie of the Year, McKenna has recorded 43 goals, which is third-best in the conference, and with the addition of four assists, ranks seventh with 47 points. Gorajek has not only set career highs with 68 points and 23 assists, but her 45 goals this season is second among NESCAC goal scorers to fellow First Team selection Ellen Halle of Middlebury. Gorajek has led the Polar Bears in scoring for three consecutive seasons and sits atop Bowdoin's career leaders list, with 168 goals, 67 assists, and 235 points.
Picking up First Team accolades for the first time are seniors Hillary Densen of Amherst, Ellen Halle of Middlebury, and Kaitlin Hildebrand of Trinity. Halle has been a scoring machine this season, leading all NESCAC players with 50 goals, 32 assists and 82 points. Hildebrand has proven that in addition to being a scoring threat, she can also find the open player, leading her team with 16 assists. Hildebrand's 30 goals and 46 total points, all career highs, are also tops on a Bantam team that features three players on the NESCAC First Team. In her senior campaign, Densen put together her most complete season on the offensive end, leading the Jeffs in scoring. Densen has posted career highs of 19 goals, 25 assists and 44 points. Her 25 assists are third-best in the NESCAC, while her 44 points ranks her 11th in the conference.
Anchoring the defense are a trio of seniors who are All-NESCAC for the first time. Trinity's Hillary McNamara leads her team with 35 ground balls, good for sixth in the conference, while tying for the conference and team-lead with 29 caused turnovers. McNamara has helped pave the way for the conference's best defense, as the Bantams boast a goals against average of 5.38. Hamilton's Paige Engeldrum has been the top defensive player for the Continentals this season, scooping up a NESCAC-best 42 ground balls and causing 20 turnovers. The senior finishes her career with 125 ground balls and 54 caused turnovers. Meg Boland has been just as consistent for Tufts on the defensive end, while also providing an offensive spark. Boland is tied for the NESCAC lead with Engeldrum with 42 ground balls and ranks fifth in the conference with 24 caused turnovers. Boland added three goals, including two in a 17-5 win over Wesleyan, and finishes her career with seven goals and five assists on the offensive side of the field, while picking up 74 ground balls and causing 51 turnovers.
Bowdoin senior goalie Tara Connolly earned a spot on the First Team with her stellar play between the pipes this season. Connolly has posted a NESCAC-best .559 save percentage, making 123 saves and recording a 7.12 goals against average along the way. Her 45 career victories in goal is a Bowdoin record.
Tufts attacker Caroline Ross was chosen as the conference's Rookie of the Year. Ross was the top-scorer for the Jumbos in her debut, finishing with 43 points on 35 goals and eight assists.
For the second time in her career, Tufts head coach Carol Rappoli was selected by her peers as the NESCAC Coach of the Year. Rappoli last won the award in 2009. Rappoli guided the Jumbos to their 10th NESCAC Championship appearance, where Tufts battled eventual NESCAC Champion Trinity to a 12-8 final in the quarterfinal round. With a 320-159-4 career coaching record in 35 seasons, including 265-127-1 during 28 seasons at Tufts, Rappoli ranks among the top 10 in career coaching victories for all divisions.
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