Going undefeated in Patriot League play for the first time since 2002, the Lafayette field hockey team garnered three end-of-the-year honors, as Deanna DiCroce ’13, Jessica Deutsch ’15, and head coach Andrew Griffiths received the Offensive Player of the Year, Goalkeeper of the Year, and Coach of the Year awards, respectively. The Leopards also placed six players on All-Patriot League squads and Emily Valeo ’13 (Norristown, Pa.) and Jaclyn White ’13 (Lincoln University, Pa.) were selected as members of the 2012 Academic All-Patriot League squad.
DiCroce (Doylestown, Pa.) notched her second straight Offensive Player of the Year award, retaining the title she was awarded in the preseason. She was a force for the Lafayette attack, racking up 44 points on 15 goals and 14 assists. Her 2.75 points per game ranked sixth in the nation, while her 0.94 goals per game were good enough for ninth nationally.
In the cage for the Leopards, Deutsch (Fairfield, Conn.) was outstanding, allowing just 14 goals in 16 games. Her 0.93 goals-against average is tops in the Patriot League and third in the nation. Deutsch also boasts a top-15 save percentage nationally, stopping 76.3 percent of opponents’ shots.
“Deanna and Jess have both had outstanding seasons and thoroughly deserve these awards, as both were unanimous selections,” Griffiths says. “I am very pleased for them that their focus on improving and team commitment has been rewarded.”
At 15-1 overall, Griffiths’ Leopards put together one of the best regular seasons in Patriot League history, entering the tournament on a 13-game winning streak and going 5-0 in conference play. The team averaged four goals per game, while giving up only 0.88 per contest, the top-ranked goals-against average for a team in the country. Lafayette outscored Patriot League opponents by a combined margin of 27-2.
“The season has truly been a team effort,” Griffiths says. “I am very proud of the team’s depth and consistency. We are excited to build on our successes with a great postseason as well.”
In addition to its three major league awards, the squad placed six athletes on the first and second All-Patriot League teams. Valeo and Brittany Blass ’15 (Mountain Top, Pa.) joined DiCroce and Deutsch on the first team, while White and Jenna Seybert ’15 (Lansdale, Pa.) occupied the Lafayette spots on the second team. DiCroce became just the fourth player in league history to earn first-team honors in each of her four seasons.