SATURDAY, APRIL 30, 2011
Three women’s lacrosse players earn first-team all NLC honors; JU to face High Point in championship game on Sunday
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On the same day the Dolphins women’s lacrosse team clinched a spot in the National Lacrosse Conference championship game, five JU players earned all-conference honors, the league announced at its annual awards banquet on the campus of Davidson College on Saturday night.

Rachel Hannon, Ellyn Spangenberg and Morgan Derner each were named to the first team. Goalie Karli Tobin and midfielder Kaitlin Stewart made the all-conference second-team. Hannon, Spangenberg, Tobin, Jessica Hotchkiss and Carly Garrison also were selected to the NLC all-conference academic team.

“After having a successful season, I’m so happy for our players who were recognized for their efforts,” JU coach Mindy McCord said. “We strive for our players to excel on the field and in the classroom. These awards, both for their playing ability and their performance in the classroom, are a testament to all the hard work throughout the season.”

All the aforementioned players helped the top-seeded Dolphins past Davidson in the semifinal round. JU (14-4) will take its 10-game winning streak into the championship game on Sunday at 1 p.m. against second-seeded High Point (14-3) at Richardson Stadium.

Hannon was chosen as one of three defenders on the first team, joining Davidson’s Lily Graham and Longwood’s Hannah Riggs. Hannon leads the Dolphins with 21 caused turnovers and 42 draw controls.

Derner was named a top-three attacker on the first unit after posting the first 40-goal season in JU history. The freshman attacker has 49 goals through her first 16 games after scoring five against Davidson in the semifinals on Saturday. Derner joins Davidson’s Ann Fucigna and High Point’s Grace Gaeng as first-team attackers.

Spangenberg made the first-team as a midfielder, joining a crop of the league’s elite two-way players. The sophomore has 24 goals, 18 ground balls, 14 draw controls and 13 caused turnovers for the Dolphins, earning her place on a talented squad that includes Davidson’s Alanna Parker, High Point’s Sara Kuhlman and Detroit’s Emily Boissonneault, who was the only NLC player to score 50 goals in the regular season (53 in 16 games).

Tobin has started every game in goal for the Dolphins, posting a 14-4 record, a .436 save percentage and a 9.10 goals-against-average to make the all-conference second team. She has played all but 64:32 in the cage this season, logging 1,015:17 of playing time.

Stewart has averaged a goal per start, scoring 16 goals while adding nine caused turnovers and collecting 29 ground balls. JU had the most all-academic team selections out of the eight-team league with five. Hannon, Hotchkiss, Spangenberg and Tobin all had a grade point average of 3.43 or higher.

The Dolphins will look win the first NLC Tournament championship in the two-year history of the program on Sunday. JU defeated High Point, 17-10, in the team’s previous meeting at D.B. Milne Field on March 25.

In that contest, the Dolphins netted 11 second-half goals. Spangenberg scored all four of her goals in the second half and freshman attacker Morgan Derner also scored four times.

Derner can reach the 50-goal plateau with one more score. Overall, the Dolphins have out-scored opponents, 296-194. In nine games against NLC competition, JU has out-scored league opponents, 180-65.

High Point is led by Gaeng, who has 52 goals after scoring four times to lift the Panthers to a semifinal victory over third-seeded and two-time defending champion Longwood on Saturday to put High Point in NLC finals for the first time.

- By Brian Bohl