CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Whitney Frates (Woodstock, Vt.), a senior forward and captain of the 10th-ranked University of New Hampshire field hockey team, was honored as the America East Offensive Player of the Year and New Hampshire, led by 21st-year head coach Robin Balducci, was named Coaching Staff of the Year in Wednesday's league announcement.
It marked the second consecutive year UNH was voted Coaching Staff of the Year. Balducci, who was also honored as Coach of the Year in 1998 and 2000, is assisted by Margaux Shute and Ross Gorham, as well as Meg Shea (volunteer coach). The Wildcats' staff led UNH to a second consecutive regular-season title in 2011 after being selected in a tie for third place in the America East preseason poll. This year's squad has been ranked in the top 10 in the nation for seven of nine weeks and has eclipsed the program record for both goals (69) and points (188) in a single season. The 15 wins is the fourth-best single-season win total in the 37 year history of the program.
Including Frates, a total of eight Wildcats received all-conference recognition. Frates, a unanimous selection as Offensive Player of the Year, was joined on the America East All-Conference First Team by Kyle Lyons (White River Junction, Vt.) and Hayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.). It marked the third-consecutive First Team selection for Frates, as well as the second time in as many years Lyons received that honor. Rausch was a Second Team honoree last season.
Three UNH players – Megan Bozek (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.), Kendall Deck (Bridgewater, N.J.) and Katherine Nagengast (Westborough, Mass.) – were voted to the Second Team. Deck has been a Second Team selection three consecutive years.
Frates, a four-time America East Player of the Week honoree in 2011, started all 18 games in which she played and recorded 22 goals and 10 assists for 54 points. On UNH's list of single-season superlatives, those numbers rank third in both goals and points. She ranks #2 in the nation in points per game as well as #4 in goals per game, and she leads America East in both of those statistics. Frates leads UNH in assists, points, game-winning goals (six) and shots (70) and she is tied for first in goals. She recorded a point in 15 of 18 games with a goal in 11 games, including eight multiple-goal efforts. Frates' season highlights included her 100th career point, 50th career goal and a seven-point effort (three goals, one assist) against nationally-ranked Stanford University.
Lyons, a senior back and captain of the 'Cats, started all 19 regular-season games. She recorded six goals and eight assists for 20 points to rank third on the team in all three statistics, and she also ranked third in shots with 58. The eight assists marks a personal single-season high and with that total Lyons ranks fifth in America East in assists per game. Lyons opened the year with a point in five consecutive games and closed with a career-high two assists at Harvard University (Oct. 30) in the regular-season finale. In addition to those contributions as a member of the offensive penalty corner unit, she is a linchpin of the defensive unit and has been credited with one defensive save this season.
Rausch, a senior forward, recorded 22 goals and seven assists for 51 points in starting all 19 games. On UNH's list of single-season superlatives, those numbers rank third in goals and fourth in points. Rausch is currently ranked #7 in the nation in points per game and #6 in goals per game, and in America East she ranks second in gpg as well as tied for second in ppg. She has a team-high .324 shooting percentage and is tied for the lead in goals; her other rankings include second in goals, game-winning goals (five) and shots (68) as well as tied for fourth in assists. Rausch recorded a point in 18 of 19 games – she began the year with a 14-game point-scoring streak and ended the regular season with a point in four straight – and scored a goal in 15 games, including eight consecutive games spanning Sept. 2-25, with five multiple-goal efforts. She became the first Wildcat since 1986 to score three goals in back-to-back games (against Brown University and Providence College) and tallied a career-high seven points at PC.
Bozek started all 19 regular-season games and she tallied three goals and one assist for seven points as an integral part of the offensive penalty corner unit. She tallied a career-high three points (one goal, one assist) at Providence on Sept. 4. The sophomore back, a 2010 All-Rookie Team selection, leads UNH in defensive saves with three and is also a prominent part of the Wildcats' defensive penalty corner unit.
Deck is a senior back who started all 19 regular-season games. As a member of the offensive penalty corner unit, she recorded seven points – all on assists. Deck tallied an assist in three consecutive games spanning Sept. 16-24 against College of the Holy Cross, Northeastern University and Northwestern University. She also recorded a point in back-to-back games against Fairfield University (Sept. 30) and Michigan State (Oct. 2).
Nagengast started 18 of 19 games in goal for New Hampshire. She had a 14-4 record with a 1.86 GAA, .735 save percentage and three shutouts. In four America East games, she went 3-1 with a 1.43 GAA, .750 save percentage and two shutouts. Nagengast was nearly unbeatable at home, as she posted a 7-1 record, 0.83 GAA, .850 save percentage and three shutouts at Memorial Field. She matched her career-high of 12 saves in the season opener at nationally-ranked Ohio State University (Aug. 27) and again Oct. 16 vs. nationally-ranked Boston College. In addition to shutouts against nationally-ranked Northeastern, Fairfield and University of Maine, she was a part of two team shutouts (Brown University and Holy Cross).
Grew started all 19 regular-season games and immediately factored as an important cog on the defensive unit, including the defensive penalty corner unit. She recorded one point with an assist Oct. 2 at Michigan State.
Joyce also started all 19 games as a freshman, but she partrolled the midfield for UNH. She recorded two goals and two assists for six points, and that included a goal in the final weekend of the season at nationally-ranked University at Albany (Oct. 29). Joyce recorded her first collegiate point with an assist in the second game of the season, Aug. 28 against Kent State University, and scored her first goal Sept. 16 at home against Holy Cross.
New Hampshire (15-4, 4-1 America East) opens play of the 2011 America East Field Hockey Championship in the first of two Nov. 4 semifinals with a one o'clock start against 12th-ranked University at Albany (13-6, 3-2), which is the tourney's fourth seed.
Second-seeded Boston University (10-8, 4-1) is ranked 17th in the nation and plays 13th-ranked University of Maine (16-3, 3-2) in the 4 pm semifinal.
The semifinal winners advance to play in the Nov. 6 (1 p.m.) championship game, which will also be at UNH's Memorial Field. Admission to all three games is free.