EIGHT FIELD HOCKEY STUDENT-ATHLETES HONORED BY AMERICA EAST; UNH NAMED COACHING STAFF OF THE YEAR

Kara Connolly Hayley Rausch
Whitney Frates Megan Bozek
Kyle Lyons Casey Pohlmeyer
Kendall Deck Tori Welch

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass.
– Eight student-athletes on the 19th-ranked University of New Hampshire field hockey team received America East accolades on Wednesday. UNH was also the recipient of the Coaching Staff of the Year award.

Kara Connolly (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.), Whitney Frates (Woodstock, Vt.) and Kyle Lyons (White River Junction, Vt.) were all unanimous selections to the America East All-Conference First Team. Kendall Deck (Bridgewater, N.J.) and Hayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.) were named to the Second Team while Megan Bozek (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.), Casey Pohlmeyer (Millersville, Md.) and Tori Welch (East Hampstead, N.H.) were voted to the All-Conference Team.

UNH tied for the highest number of representatives on both the First Team and All-Rookie Team.

The Wildcats, under the guidance of 20th-year head coach Robin Balducci as well as assistant coaches Steve Simpson and  Margaux Shute, won its first America East regular-season championship since 2002 and first outright title since 2000. UNH recorded its first unbeaten league mark (5-0) and will be host of the 2010 America East Championship (Nov. 5-6 at Memorial Field) for the first time in school history. New Hampshire compiled a 13-6 overall record – with two wins against nationally-ranked teams – en route to the top seed for the conference tournament. The UNH staff was a unanimous selection for this award; Balducci was also feted as Coach of the Year in 1998 and 2000.

Connolly, a senior midfielder, started all 19 regular-season games. She recorded six goals and nine assists for 21 points to rank third on the team in assists, fourth in points and tie for fourth in goals. Connolly also ranked third in shots (36) and tied for the team lead in game-winning goals. In America East, she ranked third in assists per game and 10th in points per game. Connolly's season highlights included personal bests in both goals (two) and points (four) against Bryant as well as matching her career high of two assists at Holy Cross. She opened the 2010 season with a four-game point-scoring streak and recorded a point in 11 of 19 games overall.

Frates, a junior forward, is a repeat selection from the 2009 First Team. She started all 19 regular-season games and recorded 26 points on 10 goals and six assists to tie for the team lead in goals and rank second in points. Frates recorded a team-best .303 shooting percentage and also tied for the team lead in game-winning goals. With those statistics, she ranked seventh in goals per game and eighth in points per game. Frates tallied a point in 10 of 19 games and recorded a season-high five points (two goals, one assist) at Maine. During a seven-game stretch spanning Sept. 25 to Oct. 17, she tallied seven goals and three assists for 17 points. Frates' other 2010 accolades included America East Player of the Week and All-Wildcat Invitational Team.

Lyons, a junior back, was an instrumental part of the defensive unit, including the penalty corner unit, and also had a breakout year offensively on that penalty corner unit. She started all 19 games and recorded 10 goals and two assists for 22 points to tie for the team lead in goals and rank third in points. Lyons also had a team-high 62 shots and tied for the team high in game-winning goals. In America East, she ranked seventh in goals per game and ninth in points per game. Lyons, who has scored a goal each of the last three games, tallied a point in 10 of 19 games and scored a goal in nine games. Her season highlights also include career highs in both goals (two) and points (four) at Holy Cross. Lyons was named the MVP of the Wildcat Invitational as a member of the All-Wildcat Invitational Team.

Deck, another junior back, is a repeat selection to the Second Team from '09. She started all 19 regular-season games and tallied 11 points, all on assists. Deck ranked second both on the team and in America East in assists. She recorded a career-high two assists vs. Providence and matched that output against both Dartmouth and nationally-ranked Albany. In addition to her integral role on defense, she is a primary player on both penalty corner units, including that of a stopper at the offensive end of the field.

Rausch, a junior forward, started all 18 games in which she played this season and recorded seven goals, including two game-winning tallies, and 13 assists for 27 points. She is the team leader in both assists and points and ranked second in shots (45). Rausch also led America East in assists per game and ranked sixth in points per game. Furthermore, she is 14th in the nation in assists per game. Rausch's 13 assists is the highest single-season total by a Wildcat since 1998 and ranks fifth on the program's list of single-season superlatives. She ended the regular season with an assist in three consecutive games and recorded a point in 11 of 18 games overall, including an assist in half of the games. Rausch matched her personal best of two assists four times and scored a goal in three consecutive games in mid-September. She excelled against elite competition with three goals and five assists for 11 points in six games vs. nationally-ranked teams.

Bozek is a freshman back who was named America East Rookie of the Week each of the past three weeks. She started all 19 games and recorded six goals for 12 points to rank tied for fourth on the team in goals and fifth in points. She also tied for fourth in shots (33). Bozek scored a goal each of the last three games. In addition to being a linchpin of the defensive unit, including the penalty corner unit, Bozek has been utilized on the offensive penalty corner unit.

Pohlmeyer, another freshman back, started all 19 regular-season games and recorded six points on three goals. She has been an integral part of the defense, including the penalty corner unit, and has also had a significant role on the offensive penalty corner unit. Pohlmeyer scored her first career goal against Holy Cross and also scored against Northeastern and Fairfield.

Welch, a freshman forward, played in all 19 games and was in the starting lineup 15 times. She recorded nine points on three goals and three assists, and also had a game-winning goal. Welch tallied all three goals at home and all three assists on the road. She recorded her first career points with a goal in the second game of the season against Delaware. Welch's other highlights included a two-assist game at Central Michigan.

UNH (13-6 overall, 5-0 America East) is the top seed of the 2010 America East Championship and the University's Memorial Field will be the site of the tournament. The Wildcats face the University of Maine in the tournament opener Nov. 5 (3 p.m.). The second semifinal features Boston University and the University at Albany and the championship game is Nov. 6 (4 p.m.). Admission is free to all three games.

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