America East All-Conference Teams and Awards

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - After a historic regular season, University at Albany continued to make history with the release of the America East women's lacrosse end of season awards. Albany's Nikki Branchini (Guilderland, N.Y./Guilderland) is the first Great Dane to garner the league's Player of the Year award.

Albany head coach Lindsey Hart topped the Coach of the Year award balloting for the first time in her career. UMBC's Jamie Fahey (Baldwin, Md./Loch Raven) also made UMBC history, becoming the first Retriever ever to earn America East Rookie of the Year distinction. All awards were voted upon by the league's seven head coaches (coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players or themselves).

Branchini, a 5-6 junior defender, is the first defensive player to earn the top honor since Boston U. goalkeeper Anne Sheridan won in 2005. She leads the conference in ground balls (3.36/game), caused turnovers (2.07/game) and draw controls (5.14/game), ranking among national leaders in all three categories as well. Branchini, a three-time first-team all-conference selection, anchors a Great Danes squad which ranks sixth nationally in allowing just 7.80 goals per game, a mark that leads the conference. She also added 10 goals and three assists for 13 points during the regular season.

Hart has led the Great Danes to the program's best season ever with a 13-2 overall record in her fifth season with the team. She has guided Albany to its debut in both national polls this year, and has her team currently ranked 17th in the Inside Lacrosse media poll and 19th in the IWLCA coaches' poll after receiving votes in previous weeks. Hart's squad secured home field advantage at John Fallon Field, where the Great Danes are 8-0 this year, for the 2010 America East Women's Lacrosse Championship by going an undefeated 6-0 in conference play and winning the program's first regular season championship.

Fahey, a 5-3 defender, earned the league's Rookie of the Year award by anchoring the Retriever backfield. Fahey led the team in ground balls (35) and draw controls (32), while also adding nine caused turnovers. She ranks tied for fifth in the America East statistics averaging 2.00 draw controls per game. The rookie has started all 16 of UMBC's games, playing nearly every minute, in helping the Retrievers return to the America East Championship for the first time since 2006.

Thirty-one of the honorees will be competing for their teams at the 2010 America East Championship this week hosted by top-seeded Albany. The Great Danes will host fourth-seeded UMBC in the first semifinal on Thursday, May 6 at 1:00 p.m., while second-seeded Boston U. and third-seeded New Hampshire will square off at 3:30 p.m. in a rematch of the last two title games. The winners will meet at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 8 to determine the league champion. The winner will receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Championship.

First Team
Attack Christine Grueniger Albany
Attack McKinley Curro Boston University
Attack Traci Landy Boston University
Attack Shaunna Kaplan New Hampshire
Midfield Mel Rorie Albany
Midfield Kayla Best Albany
Midfield Rachel Collins Boston University
Midfield Kate Keagins New Hampshire
Defense Nikki Branchini Albany
Defense Corcoran Downey Boston University
Defense Allie Duclos New Hampshire
Defense Caitlin Izzo Vermont
Goalkeeper Ashley Ross Albany

Second Team
Attack Taylor Frink Albany
Attack Xan Weitzel Boston University
Attack Erika Braerman UMBC
Attack JoJo Curro New Hampshire
Midfield Bria Phillips UMBC
Midfield Amanda Pappas UMBC
Midfield Ilana Cohen New Hampshire
Midfield Megan MacDonald Vermont
Defense Jenn Primeau Albany
Defense Siobhan Menz Binghamton
Defense Caitlin Defliese Boston University
Defense Jamie Fahey UMBC
Goalkeeper Rachel Klein Boston University

All-Rookie Team*
Midfield Rachael Burek Albany
Attack Kim McGeever Binghamton
Midfield Kristen Mogavero Boston University
Midfield Brittany Carlin Boston University
Attack Danielle Estrasco Boston University
Defense Jamie Fahey UMBC
Midfield Amber Casiano New Hampshire
Defense Ally Stager New Hampshire
Attack Jenny Simpson New Hampshire
Goalkeeper Kathleen O'Keefe New Hampshire
Defense Justyne Passarelli Stony Brook

* 10 regardless of position

Rookie of the Year: Jamie Fahey, UMBC
Player of the Year: Nikki Branchini, Albany
Coach of the Year: Lindsey Hart, Albany


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