DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire women’s lacrosse team gathered for its annual banquet Sunday afternoon to commemorate the accomplishments of its student-athletes and the 2009 Wildcat team that was in the national rankings all 11 weeks and finished with 12 wins, the fourth-highest total in the program’s 33-year history.

The Offensive MVP was presented to senior attacker Sarah Von Bargen (East Setauket, N.Y.), and classmate Beth Stankus (Derry, N.H.) was cited as the Defensive MVP.

Senior co-captains Michaela Hardy (Reading, Mass.) and Kelli LaPerch (Brewster, N.Y.) were co-recipients of the Coaches’ Award, which is presented in recognition of a player who embodies the spirit of UNH women’s lacrosse with tireless effort and selfless giving to the team without hesitation.

Ilana Cohen  (Andover, Mass.) was feted as the Rookie of the Year, and the Strength and Conditioning Award went to sophomore Allie Duclos (South Windsor, Conn.).

Von Bargen, who was named to both the America East All-Conference First Team and All-Academic Team for the third consecutive year in 2009, is currently ranked sixth in the nation in goals and 13th in goals per game. She led the Wildcats in both goals (62) and points (71); those numbers rank second on the program’s single-season goal list and fifth in points. Von Bargen also ranked second on the team in draw controls, third in assists and sixth in ground balls.

Von Bargen scored a goal in 18 of 19 games with 17 multiple-goal efforts; she tallied a pair of six-goal games and that included one as part of a personal-best eight-point performance at Harvard University. She was the team’s top goal scorer each of the initial eight games of the season and 11 times overall. Von Bargen’s season highlights included her 150th career point, 150th career goal and 200th career point.

Stankus, sidelined for more than a year by injury, returned to the starting lineup this season and was a defensive stalwart for the Wildcats en route to garnering America East All-Conference First Team recognition. She helped anchor a defensive unit that ranked No. 5 in the nation and led the team with 23 caused turnovers, many of which were created by drawing charges from an attacking opponent. Stankus also ranked fifth on the team in ground balls. Her season highlights included the game against UMass in which she tallied five caused turnovers and four ground balls.

Hardy, an America East All-Conference First Team and All-Academic Team honoree for the second time in as many years, ranked second on the team in goals (33) as well as fifth in both points (37) and caused turnovers (15); she also tallied double digits in ground balls. The midfielder recorded a point in 14 of 19 games with 12 multiple-point efforts, including 11 multiple-goal performances. Hardy’s season highlights included a five-goal game against Stony Brook University and a five-point (4g, 1a) effort at Binghamton University. She recorded her 100th career point and 100th career goal in the 2009 season.

LaPerch was another key component to UNH’s defensive unit that was best in the league and in the top 10 in the nation the entire year. She led the ‘Cats in ground balls (43) and was tied for second in caused turnovers (21); she also recorded double digits in draw controls with 11. LaPerch was credited with a ground ball in 17 of 19 games and had multiple ground balls 10 times, including a team-high eight against nationally-ranked Cornell University; she also tallied five caused turnovers in that game. Her season highlights included her first career point – she finished ’09 with two goals and two assists – and her 100th career ground ball.

Cohen, an America East All-Rookie Team selection, played in 18 of 19 games and her 15 starts were the most by any UNH rookie. She recorded 15 points on 11 goals and four assists, and she ranked third on the team in draw controls (24); she also tallied double figures in both ground balls (20) and caused turnovers (13). Cohen ended the regular season with a four-game point-scoring streak and extended it to five in the league semifinal against Albany. Her season highlights included the opener vs. Bryant University in which she had two goals and an assist for three points. In the regular-season finale at Binghamton, Cohen tallied a goal, five draw controls and three ground balls.

Duclos, an America East All-Conference First Team and All-Academic Team selection, was recognized for her work ethic and determination regarding the strength and conditioning program, and she was specifically cited for her leadership akin to that of an assistant coach in the weight room. On the field of play, the defender had a team-high 59 draw controls – fifth in the nation in that statistic – and ranked second in both ground balls (37) and caused turnovers (21) despite missing four games. Duclos also contributed six points, all on goals. Her season highlights included 11 draw controls and four ground balls against Stony Brook as well as seven DC, four GB and two caused turnovers against second-ranked Maryland.

Thirteenth-year head coach Sandy Bridgeman concluded the ceremony by honoring the six-member Class of 2009 comprised of Hardy, LaPerch, Stankus, Von Bargen, Ashley Durepo (Concord, N.H.) and Beth Sabiston (Bay Shore, N.Y.). This group led UNH to one NCAA tournament appearance and four America East tourney appearances in which the Wildcats finished as runner-up three times.

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