ALBANY, N.Y. – Sarah Craigue (Concord, N.H.), a senior forward on the University of New Hampshire field hockey team, was named America East Offensive Player of the Year at Thursday night’s league banquet. Craigue was also a unanimous selection to the All-Conference First Team and was one of seven UNH Wildcats to receive all-conference recognition.
Craigue was joined on the First Team by junior forward Meg Shea (Melrose, Mass.), while junior back Cally Cooke (Newburyport, Mass.) and freshman forward Whitney Frates (Woodstock, Vt.) were Second Team selections.
UNH had a league-high four representatives on the All-Rookie Team. Frates, Kate Collins Smyth (Parteen, County Claire, Ireland), Kendall Deck (Bridgewater, N.J.) and Jenna Lehman (Kingston, Pa.) comprise that distinguished quartet.
Craigue spearheaded America East’s most potent offense – league high 2.50 goals per game – with team highs in goals (10), game-winning goals (three), assists (seven) and points (27). She ranks third in America East in goals per game and fourth in both assists per game and points per game. In five league games, she tallied three goals and two assists for eight points. Craigue recorded a point in 10 of 18 games and her season highlights included a three-goal effort at Maine and her 50th career point at Fairfield.
Shea, a Second Team selection last year and an All-Rookie Team honoree in ’06, tallied nine goals and two assists for 20 points to rank second on the team in goals as well as third in points. In America East, she tied for fourth in goals per game and eighth in points per game. Shea recorded a point in 10 of 18 games and her season highlights included a stretch in which she scored a goal in five of six games.
Cooke, a NFHCA National All-Academic Squad selection in her first two years as a Wildcat, was a leader in UNH’s backfield this season. She has been an integral part of both penalty corner units, and that includes her role as the push on offensive corners.
Frates is second on the team in assists (six), points (22) and shooting percentage (.308), and her eight goals is tied for third. In the conference, she tied for sixth in assists per game and was seventh in points per game. Frates recorded a point in 12 of 18 games and that included a seven-game point-scoring streak – the longest by a Wildcat since 2003 – in which she tallied 15 points (six goals, three
assists). Her season highlights also included a two-goal game against Northeastern University.
Collins Smyth, who along with Frates was a unanimous selection to the All-Rookie Team, patrolled the midfield for the ‘Cats and helped control game tempo through her passing and stick skills. She tied for third on the team in assists (five) and was sixth in points (nine). In America East play, she tied for 10th in assists per game. Collins Smyth tallied a career-high two assists Oct. 11 at Maine.
Deck immediately stepped into a starting role in a veteran backfield. Midway through the season, she became the primary stopper on offensive penalty corners, and she tallied an assist in three of the last six games. She recorded five assists overall to tie for third on the team and 10th in the league in that statistic.
Lehman has been UNH’s top goalkeeper this season. She played all 18 games and was in the starting lineup 17 times, including each of the last 10 games. Lehman led America East in both saves (103) and saves per game (5.72), and she was 25th in the nation in saves per game. She went 3-2 in league action with a 2.40 GAA and .721 save percentage. Lehman made a career-high 18 saves against nationally-ranked Michigan State and also had double-digit saves against both Maine (13) and nationally-ranked Louisville (10).
New Hampshire (8-10 overall, 3-2 America East) is the second seed in the America East Championship tournament and will play third-seeded Maine (6-10, 3-2) in a Nov. 7 semifinal game. Start time at Albany’s Alumni Field is 4 p.m. The winner advances to the league title game on Nov. 9 (1 p.m.).