Nov. 1, 2012
EASTON, Pa. – Going undefeated in Patriot League play for the first time since 2002, Lafayette field hockey garnered three end-of-the-year honors on Thursday, as senior forward and co-captain Deanna DiCroce, sophomore goalkeeper Jessica Deutsch and head coach Andrew Griffiths all received awards. The Leopards also placed six student-athletes on All-Patriot League squads.
DiCroce notched her second straight Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year award, retaining the title she was awarded in the preseason. The Doylestown, Pa. native was a force for the Lafayette attack, racking up 44 points on 15 goals and 14 assists. Her 2.75 points per game rank sixth in the nation, while her 0.94 goals per game are good enough for ninth nationally.
In the cage for the Leopards, Deutsch was outstanding, allowing just 14 goals in 16 games on her way to the Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year award. Hailing from Fairfield, Conn., her 0.93 goals-against average is tops in the Patriot League and good enough for third in the nation. Deutsch also boasts a top-15 save percentage nationally, stopping 76.3% of opponents’ shots.
"Deanna and Jess have both had outstanding seasons and thoroughly deserve these awards, as both were unanimous selections,” Griffiths said. “I am very pleased for them that their focus on improving and team commitment has been rewarded."
Griffiths’ Leopards put together one of the best regular seasons in Patriot League history, entering the tournament on a 13-game winning streak and undefeated in Patriot League play for his first Patriot League Coach of the Year honor.
The team averaged four goals per game, while giving up only 0.88 per contest, the top-ranked goals-against average for a team in the country. Lafayette outscored Patriot League opponents by a combined margin of 27-2 and will look to defend their Patriot League Tournament title this weekend at Rappolt Field.
“The season has truly been a team effort,” Griffiths added. “I am very proud of the team’s depth and consistency. We are excited to build on our successes with a great postseason as well.”
In addition to the team’s three major league awards, the squad placed six student athletes on the first and second All-Patriot League teams. Senior co-captain Emily Valeo and sophomore Brittany Blass joined DiCroce and Deutsch on the first team, while senior Jaclyn White and sophomore Jenna Seybert occupied the Lafayette spots on the second team. DiCroce became just the fourth player in league history to earn first-team honors in each of her four seasons.
Valeo controlled the field for the Leopards all season from her midfield position, as many of Lafayette’s attacks and defensive maneuvers went through her. Her 1.06 assists per contest are tops in the nation and she also ranks among the national leaders in points per game with 2.06. Her 17 assists led the Patriot League.
Blass set a Patriot League record with six Defensive Player of the Week nominations throughout her 2012 campaign. She, White and Seybert helped to lead one of the top defenses in the league, topping the Patriot League as a team in shutouts (6), goals-against average (0.88) and goals allowed (14). Seybert score nine goals and tallied six assists in her sophomore season as the main weapon, along with Blass, in the penalty corner unit.
Lafayette is set to host the Patriot League Tournament this weekend at Rappolt Field. The top-seeded Leopards will begin their title defense on Friday at noon as they take on fourth-seeded Colgate. Second-seeded American will match up with third-seeded Bucknell in the later game at 3:30 p.m. The championship game is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Saturday.