Each program features three major award-winners and six all-LEC picks
Below: Maxim Fantl, repeats as top offensive player
NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - The Little East Conference playoff champion men's and women's soccer teams have dominated the balloting for major award-winners and all-conference selections.
Each Eastern soccer team featured three major awards and six all-conference selections. The women's team, which captured its third playoff title last weekend as the No. 2 seed, had the Offensive, Defensive and Rookie-of-the-Year while the men's squad claimed the Offensive and Rookie-of-the-Year and was also named recipient of the inaugural Team Sportsmanship Award
The Eastern women's volleyball team was also represented with a first-team all-conference selection in sophomore middle hitter Kristianna Ibsen (Shelton), while the field hockey team matched the men's soccer team by earning the Team Sportsmanship Award.
Each conference coach voted in the selection for the all-conference teams and major award. Balloting is completed prior to the start of the conference tournaments.
Swann, Hickey and Marchitto major awardees for w-soccer
Below: Sarah Swann
Senior midfielder Sarah Swann (Oxford), junior back Lauren Hickey (Southwick, MA) and freshman forward Daniela Marchitto (Orange) were recipients of major awards. The trio was joined on the all-conference first team by senior back Christine Lemieux (South Windsor). Senior goalkeeper Kim Church (Farmington) and senior forward Taylor MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, MA) were second-team selections.
Swann becomes the program's second Offensive Player-of-the-Year, while Hickey becomes the program's third Defensive Player-of-the-Year (in four years). Marchitto is the program's third Rookie-of-the-Year. All-conference balloting began with the 1990 season.
A total of 12 players were named to the all-conference first team and 12 to the second team. Prior to the 2002 season, only one player-of-the-year was selected.
Swann and Lemieux repeated first-team all-conference honors while MacDonald was a second-team selection for the third time in four years and Church a second team pick for the second straight season Hickey was a second-team selection last year.
Through the conference tournament, Swann was leading the conference in game-winning goals (6) and was second in points (33). More importantly, Swann scored nine goals and added three assists in seven conference matches (5-1-1 record). She scored both goals in a 2-1 road win over three-time defending conference champion Western Connecticut.and recorded her first career hat trick Oct. 10 in a 6-1 home win over the University of Southern Maine. Last Saturday, she scored the only goal of the match in a win at top-seeded Keene State College that gave the Warriors the conference championship and bid to the NCAA Division III tournament Swann's goal total this year is the sixth-highest in a season in program history and her point total equals the sixth-highest mark.
A three-year starter, Hickey started 19 of the team's 20 matches this year and is the team-leader in minutes (1,841) and minutes per game (92.1). She also contributed seven points. Behind Hickey, Lemieux, Church, and junior defender Stephanie Norell (Stratford), the Warriors surrendered a conference-low 17 goals in 20 matches (0.85 per game), giving up less than two goals 16 times.
Marchitto, one of only two freshmen among the 24 all-conference and the only first-team first-year player. Marchitto is second on the team in goals (8) game-winning goals (3) and third in points (17). Only seven players in the conference managed more than Marchitto's goal total.
Lemieux was named LEC Defensive Player-of-the-Year last year, becoming the first player in program history to win that award outright. This year, she started all 19 matches in which she appeared and added four assists.
A two-year starter in goal, Church started all 20 matches this season. Nine of her starts resulted in shutouts, posting four full-match shutouts in all. In the LEC title game she stopped six shots to preserve the shutout win. Church cuttently leads the conference in goals-against averaged (0.86) and is second in shutouts and among starting keepers, is second with a .789 save percentage.
Along with Swann, and Norell, MacDonald started all 20 matches, averaging over 70 minutes per match and contributing a goal and five assists. She is also a three-time all-conference pick and two-time conference Defensive Player-of-the-Year in lacrosse.
Both Eastern and regular-season conference champion Keene State had six all-conference selections (four first-teamers each).
Ranked in a tie for tenth in New England, Eastern (12-5-3) visits Amherst College
Saturday at 11 a.m. in its NCAA tournament opener.
Fantl program's first four-time all-conference selection
Senior forward Maxim Fantl (West Hartford) repeated as the conference's Offensive Player-of-the-Year and his selection to the first team made him the program's first four-time all-conference pick in the 21-year history of all-conference balloting.
The major award was the first of three for Eastern. Freshman back Bradley Fletcher (Middletown) became the program's fourth Rookie-of-the-Year - first since Fantl in 2006. As a team, the Warriors were selected as recipients of the inaugural Team Sportsmanship Award.
Joining Fantl on the all-conference first team was fellow senior co-captain Nicholas Boretti (Marshfield, MA) and sophomores Aaron Smiles (Bedford, MA), a back, and goalkeeper Carl Appel (West Windsor, NJ).
Second-team selections from Eastern included Fletcher and senior midfielder Chris Bourdeau (Thompson).
The all-conference selection was the third in the career of Boretti, who re-gained the first-time recognition that he was awarded as a sophomore. Smiles and Bourdeau moved up from the second-team laurels each received a year ago. Appel was named to the all-conference team for the first time.
Fantl and Boretti are the top scorers this season for Eastern, ranked third in New England and No. 20 nationally. After leading the conference in scoring as a junior, Fantl brings a conference-leading total of 40 points into post-season play, with his 17 goals one behind Plymouth State senior Semir Mehmedovic, who took over the conference lead in an ECAC tournament season-ending loss to Daniel Webster College Wednesday. In seven regular-season conference matches, Fantl collected six goals (two of them game-winners) and 15 points and added one goal in a 2-0 LEC tournament semifinal-round victory over Rhode Island College.
Fletcher was one of three freshman starting defenders this year, joining classmates Dan Fish (Marlborough) and Jon DeCasanova (Glastonbury) and Smiles in front of Appel. The Warriors lead the conference in goals-against average (0.92) and share the conference lead with nine shutouts and in least average goals allowed (0.95).
Fletcher has started all 21 matches to date and leads all players in total minutes (1,769) and minutes per game (104.1). Smiles has started all 20 matches in which he has appeared and leads the conference in assists, with 10. He assist total is the highest at Eastern since Alex Patino recorded 12 in 1992. Appel is the LEC leader in goals-against average (0.94), the co-leader in complete-match shutouts (5) and is second in save percentage (.814). All of Appel's shutouts came in conference competition, the final two coming in the conference tournament, when he made five saves in each.
Boretti has scored all eight of his goals and registered 18 of his 20 points in the team's last 13 matches. In seven regular-season conference matches, he had four goals (one game-winner) and 11 points, then earned LEC playoff MVP honors by scoring the game-winning goals in victories over Rhode Island College and UMass Dartmouth. His goal against UMass Dartmouth was the only one of the game and provided the Warriors with their second title in three years.
Bourdeau has copped all-conference honors and started every possible match in each of his two seasons at Eastern after transferring from the Division II level. Two of his three goals came on the opening weekend of the season and helped account for victories over top New England tournament contenders MIT and Babson College at the Babson Invitational.
The Warriors' selection for the Team Sportsmanship Award was due in large part to its low foul and yellow card warning totals this season. In 21 games, Eastern had the least number of fouls and yellow cards of any of the conference's eight clubs. The Warriors averaged less than seven fouls per game - five fewer per game than their nearest competitor - and were assessed only six yellow cards. The yellow card total was eight less than their nearest competitior and 35 fewer than the conference leader.
Below: Kristianna Ibsen
Both Eastern and regular-season conference champion Keene State College had six all-conference selections (four first-teamers each) on the squad, which consisted of 12 first-teamers and 12 second-teamers
Having equaled the 40-year program record for wins in a season, Eastern (16-4-1) opens play in its 15th post-season tournament Saturday at Troy, N.Y. against host RPI.
Ibsen volleyball first-teamer
Ibsen was named the program's first first-team selection in three years when she was one of six players named to the first team, which represented five of the conference's eight teams. The second team also consisted of six players. Players received votes regardless of position.
Theh 5-foot-10 inch Ibsen was one of five middle hitters chosen to the first team, which was rounded out by outside hitter Kate McWhorter of regular-season and playoff champion Massachusetts Boston. The second team was comprised of three setters, two outside hitters and a middle hitter.
Through the conference playoffs, Ibsen was ranked fourth in the conference in kills per game (3.44), fifth in points per game (4.04), and sixth in attack percentage (.297). In seven regular-season conference matches, Ibsen attacked at .319 and totaled 12 blocks and 30 digs.
In 12 years of conference volleyball, Eastern has had 33 all-conference selections, four Player-of-the-Year and one Rookie-of-the-Year selections and six conference tournament Most Outstanding Player picks.
A four-time conference regular-season and seven-time LEC tournament champion, Eastern (12-20) finished sixth this season and was eliminated in the opening round of the conference tournament.
Field hockey team recognized
Despite losing all 11 of its conference matches and finishing 3-15 overall, the Warriors were the top vote-getter for the inaugural Team Sportsmanship Award.
little east conference
FALL ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMS
Lauren Hickey Jr. B First Team
Christine Lemieux Sr. B First Team
Daniela Marchitto Fr. F First Team
Sarah Swann Sr. MF First Team
Kim Church Sr. GK Second Team
Taylor MacDonald Sr. F Second Team
Carl Appel So. GK First Team
Nicholas Boretti Sr. MF First Team
Maxim Fantl Sr. F First Team
Aaron Smiles So. B First Team
Chris Bourdeau Sr. MF Second Team
Bradley Fletcher Fr. B Second Team
Team Sportsmanship Award
Kristianna Ibsen So. MH First Team
Team Sportsmanship Award