Marissa Caroleo Named 2011 NEC Women's Lacrosse Player Of The Year

HAMDEN, Conn. - Quinnipiac women's lacrosse junior midfielder Marissa Caroleo (North Babylon, N.Y.) was named the 2011 Northeast Conference Player of the Year Thursday night at the league's annual banquet. Caroleo becomes just the second player in program history to earn the honor, joining midfielder Tiffany Manzi who earned the award in 2008. Caroleo is one of three players to represent Quinnipiac on the All-NEC First Team, while three were also named to the All-NEC Second Team.
The North Babylon native earns the most prestigious league award after leading both Quinnipiac and the NEC in goals (47) and goals per game (3.13). Her team-high 53 points contributed to her incredible 3.53 points per game, ranking second-best in the NEC, while she finishes first on the team in draw controls (35) and third in ground balls (32). After recording at least two points in every game this season, the junior has kept alive her multipoint streak of 16 games dating back to last season. The junior is also currently in the midst of a career-high 23-game point streak, which began back on March, 10, 2010.
"I am so happy that Marissa was recognized as the Player of the Year by the NEC," head coach Danie Caro said. "After ending the season early last spring when she tore her ACL, we all knew it would be difficult for her to make a full recovery and return to the level she had been. But she is such a hard worker and determined person, that she came back better than before. She is one of the most dedicated student-athletes I have ever worked with, and she deserves this award. She does a little bit of everything for our team, and I am pleased that the rest of the NEC coaches recognized that."
Caroleo, who surpassed 100-career points on Sunday, Apr. 17 against Long Island, was named Player of the Week once during the regular season, on Monday, Apr. 4. The junior is not new to regular season awards, as she was named the 2009 NEC Rookie of the Year and was named to the All-NEC Second Team during that same season.
Joining Caroleo on the All-NEC First Team is senior defender Kaitlyn Kelly (North Massapequa, N.Y.) and junior midfielder Devon Gibney(Hopkinton, Mass.). Kelly receives the All-NEC First-Team nod for the second-consecutive season after leading the team in caused turnovers (21), as well as sharing the team lead with 33 ground balls. Her 1.77 caused turnovers per game ranked second overall among all NEC players.
"Kaitlyn started the season with a significant injury, so for her to rebound and put up the numbers she has is a testament to how hard she works on the field," said Caro. "She is the leader of our defense and has been the player we counted on to make the big plays during our stretch of conference games."
The North Massapequa native was a one-time NEC Defensive Player of the Week award recipient, receiving the honor on Monday, Apr. 4, which marked her third-career weekly award selection. Kelly, who earned recognition last season as the 2010 NEC Defensive Player of the Year, is the active team leader in both ground balls (106) and caused turnovers, while ranking second in draw controls (91).
Gibney earns her second-consecutive All-NEC First Team selection, following another outstanding all-around season for Quinnipiac. She finishes the regular season as the team-leader in draw controls (41), second in caused turnovers (19) and third in overall points (41). The Hopkinton native also finishes the regular season tied for fourth among NEC players in in-conference goals per game (2.56) and currently ranks fifth in draw controls per game (2.73) in total games played. Gibney, the active team-leader in points (119), surpassed the 100-point milestone earlier this season, on Friday, Apr. 1 against Sacred Heart.
"Devon had another great season for us this year," said Caro. "We asked her to focus more on defense this season, and she has become our best shut down defender. She produced for us at both ends of the field, and has developed into one of the league's best overall players."
With the NEC All-Second Team selection, senior midfielder Lauren Matuszczak (East Longmeadow, Mass.) earns her second consecutive All-Conference honor. She finishes the regular season ranked second on the team in total points (44) on 26 goals and 18 assists. The senior joins Caroleo and Gibney as the other top-scorer on the team to record her 100th career point this season, accomplishing the feat on Wednesday, Apr. 6 against Columbia.
Matuszczak was a one-time NEC Player of the Week recipient, awarded on Monday, Mar. 21.
"Lauren is such a workhorse for us in the midfield," said Caro. "Almost every single transition play goes through her stick, and she has developed into a real force on the center circle."
Senior attacker Christine Sinnigen (Sudbury, Mass.) earns her first-career All-Conference selection, after compiling a career-high 39 points on 16 goals and 23 assists. Her numbers have her ranked fourth on the team in overall points and second overall in assists. The Sudbury native recorded five points in four separate games this season and is just six points away from recording her 100th career point.
"Christine has quietly evolved into one of our most reliable low attackers, so I am thrilled that she earned this recognition," said Caro. "In addition to being one of our better feeders, she has shown more willingness to go to goal, and that has really made a difference for our attack."
Junior goalie Noelle Martello earns a spot on the All-NEC Second Team following a tremendous breakout junior season which saw her compile a league-best 7.83 goals against average and a .561 save percentage in NEC contests. She has recorded a personal-best (and tied for program-best) 10 wins this season, and is currently third on the program's all-time win list, with 18 career victories.
"Noelle had such strong performances in our conference games this year, leading all goalkeepers in both save percentage and goals against average," said Caro. "She has really worked on being more vocal in net and becoming more effective when she comes out of the cage, so it is nice to see her recognized for her efforts."
"These awards are a nice recognition for our program, but ultimately, the award my players really want is the one handed out on Sunday," said Caro. "We're putting all of our focus on being the best team in the tournament this weekend."
The No. 1-seeded Bobcats return to action tomorrow afternoon in the semifinals of the NEC Playoffs when it hosts No. 4-seeded Sacred Heart at 12 p.m. at Quinnipiac Field Hockey & Lacrosse Turf Field.
2011 Northeast Conference Women's Lacrosse Award Winners 
Player of the Year       School                         Pos.             Ht              Yr.               Hometown/Previous School
Marissa Caroleo    Quinnipiac                  MF              5-2              Jr.                North Babylon, NY/North Babylon
Defensive Player of the Year 
Aly Jost    Mount St. Mary's        D                 5-3              Sr                 Abingdon, MD/Bel Air
Goalkeeper of the Year
Lauren Filippone            Bryant                          GK               5-6              Jr                 West Babylon, NY/West Babylon
Rookie of the Year 
Haley Bloom                    Bryant                          A                  5-4             Fr                Hauppauge, NY/St. Anthony's
Coach of the Year 
Katy Phillips                    Robert Morris
2011 Northeast Conference Women's Lacrosse First Team All-Conference
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown/High School
Emily Pepe Sacred Heart A 5-3 So East Quogue, NY/Westhampton (Jacksonville U.) 
Jen Semler Mount St. Mary's A 5-6 Jr. Baltimore, MD/Perry Hall 
Ashley Trombetta Robert Morris A 5-8 Sr. Sykesville, MD/Century 
Marissa Caroleo  Quinnipiac MF 5-2 Jr. North Babylon, NY/North Babylon 
Carissa Franzi Monmouth MF 5-4 Sr. Fairfield, NJ/West Essex 
Devon Gibney    Quinnipiac MF 5-5 Jr. Hopkinton, MA/Hopkinton 
Colleen O'Donnell  Robert Morris          MF     5-6   Jr.   Portland, OR/St. Mary's Academy 
Esther Rufolo         Mount St. Mary's       MF     5-5   Jr.   Woodstock, MD/Chapelgate Christian Academy 
Aly Jost                     Mount St. Mary's        D      5-3   Sr.   Abingdon, MD/Bel Air 
Kaitlyn Kelly              Quinnipiac                   D      5-9   Sr   North Massapequa, NY/Plainedge 
Mallory Schulze      Robert Morris              D      5-8   Sr.   Bel Air, MD/C. Milton Wright 
Lauren Filippone      Bryant                           GK     5-6   Jr.   West Babylon, NY/West Babylon
2011 Northeast Conference Women's Lacrosse Second Team All-Conference
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown/High School
Haley Bloom            Bryant                       A      5-4   Fr.   Hauppauge, NY/St. Anthony's 
Christine Sinnigen   Quinnipiac                 A      5-4   Sr.   Sudbury, MA/Lincoln-Sudbury Regional 
Betsy Vendel            CCSU                          A      5-7   So.   Sandy Hook, CT/Newtown 
Jessica Ingrilli           Sacred Heart             MF     5-6   Sr.   Wantagh, NY/Wantagh 
Kate Kmiotek           Sacred Heart              MF     5-7   Jr.   Farmingville, NY/Sachem East 
Sam Lillo      Monmouth            MF     5-2   Jr.   Short Hills, NJ/Millburn 
Lauren Matuszczak    Quinnipiac                 MF     5-2   Sr.   East Longmeadow, MA/East Longmeadow 
Kate Simmons           Saint Francis (PA)       MF     5-10  So.   Delran, NJ/Delran 
Gianna D'Urso          Monmouth                   D      5-7   So.   Fairfield, NJ/West Essex 
Allison Geoghan       Monmouth                   D      5-6   Sr.   Highland, MD/River Hill 
Nicole Rettinger      Bryant                           D      5-6   So.   Dix Hills, NY/Half Hallow Hills West 
Noelle Martello        Quinnipiac                   GK     5-6   Jr.   Westbury, NY/Carle Place
2011 Northeast Conference Women's Lacrosse All-Rookie Team
Name School                          Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown/High School
Haley Bloom         Bryant        A      5-4  Fr.   Hauppauge, NY/St. Anthony's 
Kaitlyn Larrimore    Mount St. Mary's        MF   5-8   RFr. Pylesville, MD/North Harford 
Sam Morin                 Wagner                         A      5-5   Fr.   Rockville Centre, NY/South Side 
Kelsey Russo             Sacred Heart                A      5-2   Fr.   Lindenhurst, NY/Lindenhurst 
Emily VanDyne         Robert Morris             A      5-6   Fr.   Webster, NY/Webster Thomas 
Katie Williams          Long Island                 MF   5-1   Fr.   Charlottesville, VA/Albemarle