Nov. 1, 2011
EASTON, Pa. -
Lauren Smedley has been named Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year and Mick Statham earned Coach of the Year honors as the Patriot League announced its 2011 All-Patriot League Women’s Soccer Team. In addition, Janelle Pierson, Catherine Galgano and Alex Reisinger were selected to the Second-Team All-Patriot League squad.
Smedley is the first back-to-back Goalkeeper of the Year award winner in League history after being named Goalkeeper of the Week twice this season. The Hamilton, N.J. native has eight shutouts in 2011, equaling the mark she set last year for the most in school history. She also climbed up the Patriot League ladder in career clean sheets, where she is currently tied her for eighth all-time. Smedley leads the League in saves made, turning away 86 shots while playing every minute in the Lafayette goal. Her .887 save percentage ranks 10th nationally and she is 26th in the country in goals-against average (0.66).
“She is the Rolls Royce of goalkeepers as far as I’m concerned,” Statham said of Smedley. “She gives our team a belief that we can be in every single game, because when she is called upon she generally does her job. Her dedication to training and continuing to improve has always been phenomenal. She’s a gym rat and now she is reaping the rewards of the effort that she puts in behind the scenes.”
Statham, in his sixth year on the Lafayette sidelines, has resurrected the Lafayette women’s soccer program in 2011. He has led the team to a 9-5-2 overall record, the most wins since 2001, and the number two seed in the Patriot League Tournament, the highest in school history. The Leopards enjoyed their best home record ever at 6-0-0 and League mark at 4-2-1. Statham’s honor is the first Patriot League Coach of the Year award for a Lafayette women’s soccer coach.
“You generally are recognized as Coach of the Year when your team has done well,” head coach Mick Statham said of winning the award. “Full credit goes to the players. The support of Brian Herr and Kim Pachuta is massive, but it is really an award for the players’ effort."
Pierson’s effort this season as a co-captain was rewarded with her first All-Patriot League recognition, garnering Second-Team status. The senior from Coral Springs, Fla. led the Maroon and White with four goals and nine points on the season, including two game-winning tallies. She was named Offensive Player of the Week, assisted Gina Milone’s decisive goal at Lehigh and recorded a point in three of Lafayette’s four League victories.
“Janelle and I had a conversation in early February about how she was going to lead the team and how it was going to be different than traditional leadership,” Statham commented. “It has been the single best leadership job in my six years here, hands down. She deserves a ton of credit for the job she has done and she has done it in her own personality and helped create a locker room atmosphere that everyone enjoys being a part of.”
Sophomore defender Galgano was one of three underclassmen on the Leopards’ back line and started 14 of Lafayette’s 16 games. She played significant minutes in Lafayette’s eight shutouts and helped Lafayette hold its opponents to just 11 goals, the second best total in the Patriot League.
“I think Cat has the potential to be the best defender in the league,” Statham added. “There are some excellent defenders in the Patriot League and I think she is right up there with all of them. She has two more years to develop, and I think she is an unsung hero on this team. She is easy to overlook because of the position she plays, but I think she could be the most important field player that we have because she is so consistent.”
Reisinger has stepped into a young Lafayette back line and started every game as a freshman. She leads the team in minutes played and was named Patriot League Rookie of the Week after assisting both of Pierson’s game-winning goals against Navy and American. She has played a key role in eight Lafayette shutouts and also scored on a penalty kick at Lehigh on Oct. 1, helping propel Lafayette to its first League victory since 2006.
“Alex has shown, with the right mentality combined with talent, that age is not a factor,” Statham said. “She has been outstanding all year, and I think a lot of it, besides her talent, has to do with her mental strength. She is very confident; she chooses to be confident and is the type of player we are constantly looking for. Players with her mentality and talent always do well and her performances have been of a consistent high standard all year.”
Adding to the breakthrough season, the four All-Patriot League Selections are the most ever in a single season for Lafayette.
The Patriot League Women’s Soccer Tournament begins Friday with No. 1 seed Colgate hosting fourth-seeded Army at 5 p.m. followed by No. 2 Lafayette against third-seeded Navy at 8 p.m. Sunday’s championship match will take place at 1 p.m. All three games are slated for Van Doren Field on Colgate’s campus in Hamilton, N.Y.