May 1, 2014
ALC Tournament Preview
EVANSTON, Ill. -- With the 2014 American Lacrosse Conference Tournament set to commence in Evanston, the ALC announced its 24 first- and second-team All-Conference selections as well as its special award recipients Thursday morning. Five Northwestern players represent the Wildcats on the All-ALC teams, with seniors Alyssa Leonard and Kerri Harrington earning first-team all-conference honors while senior Kate Macdonald, junior Bridget Bianco and sophomore Kaleigh Craig were named to the second team.
Of the five, only Leonard has previously been named to an ALC All-Conference team in her career, having been tabbed a second-team All-ALC honoree a year ago. This marks the third straight season in which five NU players received an All-Conference nod.
Leonard, who began her career as the 2011 ALC Rookie of the Year, notched her first first-team selection after another year of leading the Wildcats in the draw circle as well as on the attacking end. With an ALC-best 118 draw controls on the year, Leonard enters the postseason needing just seven more to match the single-season school record she set a year ago, while also ranking second on the Northwestern roster with 28 goals and 35 points.
Harrington joins Leonard on the first team after serving as the vocal leader of the Northwestern defense, a unit that held opponents to 8.2 goals per game this season. Harrington's ability to take out the opposition's top scoring threat was on display often throughout her senior campaign, most notably in a win over then-No. 1 North Carolina when she held standout Aly Messinger without a point or shot.
Bianco earned the goalkeeper spot on the All-ALC second team thanks to her 7.86 goals against average and .477 save percentage, both of which rank in the top 15 nationally. Her season included memorable performances against Virginia, where she recorded a career-high 14 saves, and at Penn, whom she limited to two goals on 10 shots on goal.
The senior Macdonald took over the role of Northwestern's workhorse in the midfield this season, contributing tirelessly at both ends for nearly the full 60 minutes. She has chipped in 15 points on attack (10 goals, five assists) after entering the year with a combined nine goals and 13 points through her first three seasons, and also has 12 ground balls and nine caused turnovers.
Finally, Craig earned a worthy second-team nod despite missing the final two games of the regular season with an injury, which she sustained while leading Northwestern in goals on the year with 27. One of the toughest players in the league to stop in a one-on-one setting, Craig recorded multi-goal performances in seven of her last eight contests, posting a career-best four against both Duke and Michigan.
After 13 seasons, the American Lacrosse Conference will disband following the 2014 campaign, as four current members (Northwestern, Michigan, Penn State and Ohio State) prepare to join Maryland and Rutgers in the Big Ten Women's Lacrosse Conference next spring. Since its initial season under Kelly Amonte Hiller in 2002, NU players have garnered 69 All-ALC accolades and won ALC Player of the Year honors in seven seasons, while Amonte Hiller won seven league Coach of the Year honors in her 13 seasons.
2014 All-American Lacrosse Conference
Nora Barry, Florida
Sammy Cermack, Johns Hopkins
Jackie Cifarelli, Ohio State
Madison Cyr, Penn State
Taylor D'Amore, Johns Hopkins
Tori DeScenza, Ohio State
Taylor Donahue, Ohio State
Alyssa Dunlap, Vanderbilt
Shannon Gilroy, Florida
Kerri Harrington, Northwestern
Alyssa Leonard, Northwestern
Lauren Purvis, Penn State
Bridget Bianco, Northwestern
Sammi Burgess, Florida
Katie Chase, Ohio State
Kaleigh Craig, Northwestern
Dené DiMartino, Johns Hopkins
Caroline Fitzgerald, Florida
Kate Macdonald, Northwestern
Maggie McCormick, Penn State
Jenna Mosketti, Penn State
Anna Schueler, Michigan
Haley Schweizer, Johns Hopkins
Abby Wheeler, Vanderbilt
Individual Award Recipients
Goalie of the Year: Tori DeScenza, Ohio State
Defensive Player of the Year: Lauren Purvis, Penn State
Midfield Player of the Year: Shannon Gilroy, Florida
Offensive Player of the Year: Taylor D'Amore, Johns Hopkins
Rookie of the Year: Sammi Burgess, Florida
Coach of the Year: Amanda O'Leary, Florida
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