Big East Announces Major Awards and All-Conference Team

NEW YORK A pair of seniors earned major awards from the Big East for the second time in as many seasons on Tuesday when the league announced its all-conference honors and trophies on Tuesday afternoon. St. John's Kieran McArdle and Villanova's John LoCascio repeated as the Big East Attack Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, respectively, and were joined by three other players picking up their first trophies from the conference.

Denver picked up two of those other trophies as senior Jeremy Noble was named the Midfielder of the Year, while junior teammate Ryan LaPlante was tabbed Goalkeeper of the Year. Marquette's Joe Amplo rounded out the honors with the Coach of the Year trophy.

The All-Big East team and major awards were voted on by the league's seven head coaches who could not vote for themselves or their own student-athletes.

McArdle was named back-to-back Attack Player of the Year in the Big East after leading the conference most of the season and sitting at or near the top of the NCAA's standings in goals, assists and points. He finished his senior campaign with Big East-bests of 40 goals, 40 assists and 80 points. In Big East games, McArdle led all players with 23 assists and 35 points to go with 12 goals.

Regarded as one of the best long-stick midfielders in the country, LoCascio put together another strong season to collect his second straight Big East Defensive Player of the Year award. After entering the year as a Preseason All-America pick and the Big East Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, LoCascio leads Villanova with 32 caused turnovers and is second on the team with 68 ground balls entering the tournament.

Noble was the unanimous selection by the head coaches for Midfielder of the Year. The versatile Denver senior is second in the Big East with 27 assists and a 1.93 per-game average. Noble has also been a defensive stalwart for the Pioneers with a team-best 16 caused turnovers to go with 38 ground balls, good for second on the squad.

LaPlante has been head coach Bill Tierney's leadoff goaltender in 12 of 14 games this season in the unique goalkeeper platoon employed by the Pioneers. He boasts an 8.90 goals-against average while stopping nearly 58 percent of shots sent his way en route to building an 8-0 record.

Amplo captures his first Coach of the Year honor after guiding Marquette to the Big East Tournament in its first season in the conference and just second as a Division I varsity program. The Golden Eagles are 6-9 overall and 4-2 in the Big East, having picked up wins during the season against fellow tournament qualifier Rutgers as well as Georgetown, Providence and St. John's.

In all, Denver led with seven All-Big East selections, including a conference-best six on the first team. Noble and LaPlante were named to the first team alongside junior Wes Berg (33 goals, 15 assists, 5 EMO goals) at attack, junior Erik Adamson (33 G, 7 A, 16 ground balls) at midfield, freshman Christian Burgdorf (13 games played, 18 GB) on defense and senior goalkeeper Jamie Faus (14 GP, 4-2, 8.20 goals-against average, .540 save percentage) at the coaches' at-large selection. Sophomore attackman Jack Bobzien (34 G, 17 A) was the Pios' sole second-team representative.

Villanova followed with a pair of first-team All-Big East honorees and five total. LoCascio earned first-team recognition at long pole while classmate Chris Conroy (14 GP, 19 GB) made the top squad on defense. Fellow senior Chris Piccirilli (14 GP, 5 G, 27 GB) was a second-team choice on defense along with sophomore midfielder Jack Curran (16 G, 14 A, 16 GB) and freshman goalkeeper Dan Willis (14 GP, 5-8, 9.93 GAA, .489)

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