TRUMBULL, Conn. – The Quinnipiac women's lacrosse team was awarded three of the four major awards at the Northeast Conference's end-of-year banquet, held on Thursday, April 26 by tournament host Sacred Heart at the Trumbull Marriot. Senior midfielder Marissa Caroleo (North Babylon, N.Y.) took home her second consecutive NEC Player of the Year award, while senior midfielder Devon Gibney (Hopkinton, Mass.) was named the NEC's Defensive Player of the Year and freshman attacker Kyra Ochwat (Farmingdale, N.Y) earned NEC Rookie of the Year honors. Joining Caroleo and Gibney as NEC First-Team members is fellow senior defender Kim Davis (Darien, Conn.), as well as junior attacker Sarah Allen (Glastonbury, Conn.).
"I am pleased to see Kyra, Devon, Kim, Marissa, and Sarah all recognized by the NEC tonight," said head coach Danie Caro. "They are all integral components of our team and played a big role in our success this season."
This marks Quinnipiac's third NEC Player of the Year award, as Caroleo and Tiffany Manzi '08 are the other two recipients of the illustrious award. Gibney become the fourth player in program-history to be named NEC Defensive Player of the Year, joining Kaitlyn Kelly '10, Hannah Nelson '08 and Vanessa Miranda '06. Ochwat walks away with the program's third NEC Rookie of the Year accolade, joining current teammate Caroleo and Manzi as the only other Bobcats to be honored.
The two-time NEC Player of the Year nearly duplicated her record-breaking 2011 season ago, as she finishes the regular season first on the team with 45 goals and is second overall with 53 points. Her eight assists have her tied for third overall on the team, while her draw control (34) and ground ball (16) totals rank her second and tied for fourth, respectively, on the team. Caroleo's 3.00 overall goals per game rank second among NEC players (her 3.00 in-conference goals per game had her tied for second), while her 3.53 points per game rank her fifth overall. Caroleo's 3.33 in-conference points per game rank her tied for eighth among league players.
"Marissa's performance this year has been great," said Caro. "She has basically had a target on her back all year and still managed to be among the conference leaders in goals and points, and she has gotten the job done for us at both ends of the field."
The season's highlight for Caroleo, who already holds the program record for single-season goals scored (with 53 in 2011), came on Friday, March 30 against Mount St. Mary's. On that day, she became the program's all-time leader in career goals scored, surpassing Marta Waldron's '02 total of 125 tallies. Caroleo currently has 143 career goals and is just three points away from tying Katie Latonick's '10 all-time program-best 175 career points.
She is a three-time All-NEC recipient (twice First-Team, once Second-Team) and has now earned a major NEC award in three of her four seasons with Quinnipiac (2009 Rookie of the Year, 2011 Player of the Year, and 2012 Player of the Year).
Gibney had one of her strongest all-around seasons as a senior co-captain (shared with Caroleo), as she led the team with 27 ground balls, 54 draw controls, and 19 caused turnovers during the regular season. She also currently ranks fifth overall on the squad with 30 points, coming on 22 goals (fourth-best) and eight assists (tied for third-best). Among league players, Gibney ranks fourth for in-conference caused turnovers per game (1.89) and is second in overall draw controls per game (3.86). On Friday, April 20 against Central Connecticut, Gibney became the program's all-time leader in career draw controls, with 148, breaking Tiffany Manzi's '09 total of 142. Gibney also broke her own single season program-record of 47 draw controls (set during the 2011 season). With the selection, Gibney earns her third-consecutive All-NEC First-Team nod.
"Devon has been one of the most consistent performers over this season, and for her to be recognized with her third first-team all-conference selection, and the Defensive Player of the Year award, shows that every coach in the conference sees her value to our team," said Caro.
Ochwat had a fantastic rookie season for Quinnipiac, ranking second overall on the team in goals (31) and fourth on the team in points (38). The freshman was named NEC Rookie of the Week on three separate occasions throughout the year, matching Robert Morris' Erin Mossop for most in the league. To put her season in perspective, the Farmingdale native is just three goals away from tying the all-time rookie record for single-season goals of 34, set by Marta Waldron in 1999. Ochwat is also nearing the single-season points record for a Quinnipiac rookie (44), again set by Waldron during that same 1999 season.
"Kyra had a great rookie campaign, not only starting every game for us, but becoming a key contributor on offense," said Caro. "We are very excited to see her continued development as her career progresses."
Allen experienced a season like no other in the program, NEC, and currently NCAA history. She broke Quinnipiac's single-season assist record, previously held by Latonick (44), on Thursday, April 5 against Saint Francis (Pa.), when she dished out seven assists (matching her career-high for the third time this season). She then became the NEC's all-time single season assist champion the following Saturday, April 7 against Robert Morris, breaking Ashley Levering's (Robert Morris) previous record of 51 set in 2009. Allen currently sits one assist behind Latonick's all-time program-high total of 111 career helpers.
The junior, who leads the team with 68 points (four goals, 64 assists), is also currently leading the NEC and NCAA with a 4.57 assists per game mark, while her raw total of 64 is also an NCAA-high. She is also the only NEC player ranked in the top-15 nationally for points per game, as her 4.86 mark ranks her ninth overall among all NCAA women's lacrosse players. She is a two-time NEC Player of the Week recipient in 2012, taking the honors in back-to-back weeks (week of March 26 and April 2).
"Sarah has put together a remarkable statistical season and has essentially become the quarterback of our offense," said Caro. "Her presence on the field is a stabilizing factor for our attack unit and I am so proud of her efforts to continually improve her game."
Davis was the senior leader of a defensive unit that held the lowest in-conference goals against average 7.89, as well as most caused turnovers per game 10.89. Davis is currently tied for fourth on the squad with 16 ground balls and is tied for fifth on the squad with 14 caused turnovers. She ranks third among active Quinnipiac players with 70 career ground balls, and is tied for third among active players with 37 draw controls.
"Kim had a great year for us and I am so happy her efforts were recognized and she was able to cap off her career with a first-team selection," said Caro. "She has come a long way over the past few years, and that is a direct reflection of how hard she has worked to become one of the league's premier defensive players."
The 2012 NEC Co-Champion Bobcats look to continue their successful season this upcoming weekend, when they travel to Sacred Heart to face No. 3-seeded Monmouth in their semifinals matchup on Friday, April 27.
"I am really proud of my entire team," said Caro. "This has been an up and down year for us in many ways, but through it all they have stayed together as a team and managed to enjoy just playing with each other. It has been fun to watch them."
Contact: Ross Bennett, email@example.com