Middlebury's Nicholas Named NFHCA Player of the Year; 10 Others Honored

Middlebury's Erin Nicholas was named the NFHCA Division III Player of the Year
Middlebury's Erin Nicholas was named the NFHCA Division III Player of the Year

GILBERT, Ariz. – Middlebury sophomore Erin Nicholas has been named the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division III National Player of the Year, marking the fourth year in a row a NESCAC student-athlete has been selected for the honor. Nicholas, who was also named a First Team All-American, is the first sophomore to garner the honor in its history. Nicholas is one of 11 NESCAC players to earn All-America honors from the NFHCA.

2018 NFHCA ALL-AMERICANS

Nicholas led the Panthers to a program record 21 wins (21-1) and capture Middlebury's third NCAA Championship in the last four years and fourth overall. She was recently selected the New England West Regional Player of the Year and is a two-time all-region selection, earning first-team laurels this year. Nicholas was the first NESCAC player to earn rookie of the year and player of the year honors in back-to-back seasons the 2005 and 2006 seasons. Nicholas led the Panthers in points (45), goals (17) and assists (11) and recorded points in 18 of the team's 22 games this season. She led in the conference in scoring and was tied for second in assists. Nicholas also had five game-winning goals, including the winning tally in the NCAA Final victory over Tufts.

Nicholas was joined on the NFHCA All-America Team by senior Grace Jennings, a First Team selection, and junior Marissa Baker, a Second Team honoree. Jennings is a three-time All-American, earning First Team honors in 2017 and 2018, as well as Third Team honors in 2016. She is also a four-time all-region selection and three-time All-NESCAC recipient. Jennings, the 2015 NESCAC Rookie of the Year, ranked second on the team in scoring, registering 16 goals and seven assists for 39 points. Jennings tallied five points in the NCAA Semifinal against Rowan with two goals and an assist. The forward was a steady contributor during her career, starting 84 of 86 games and posting 132 points (43-46-132). She ranks second on the program's all-time list for assists.

Baker collects her first All-American certificate after earning both all-region and All-NESCAC accolades. She scored six goals in the final seven NESCAC contests and the game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Trinity in the NESCAC Semifinal. She tallied two helpers, including on the game-winning goal, in Middlebury's NCAA Semifinal win over Rowan. For the season, she ranked among the team leaders with nine goals and six assists for 24 points.

Seniors Issy Del Priore and Gigi Tutoni of Tufts, the NCAA Runner-Up, represented the Jumbos on the NFHCA All-America teams. Del Priore, an All-American for the second straight year, earned a spot on the First Team, while Tutoni received an All-American Third Team accolade, the first All-American citation of her career. Both players were part of the All-New England West Region First Team, and they each received All-NESCAC honors earlier this year.

Del Priore was part of a backline that surrendered 13 goals in 22 games in 2018, totaling to a goals against average of just 0.58, which was fifth-best in the country. She helped the Jumbos post a program-record 13 shutouts this fall. Del Priore had a team-high six defensive saves, which ranked second in the NESCAC.

Tutoni netted a team-high 13 goals, including six game-winners. She scored once and added an assist in a 3-1 victory over Johns Hopkins in the NCAA Semifinal, helping the Jumbos advance to their fourth NCAA Championship appearance in program history.

Trinity seniors Chandler Solimine and Lori Berger were both named to the All-American First Team. Solimine, the NESCAC Offensive Player of the Year, joined Berger on the All-NESCAC First Team, and both were named to the All-New England West Region First Team.  Solimine makes her third appearance on the All-NESCAC and all-region team, while Berger repeats on the all-conference team and moves up to the all-region first team after earning second-team honors a year ago.

Solimine led the Bantams in scoring with 32 points (4th in NESCAC) on a team-high 12 goals (5th in NESCAC) and eight assists.  She totaled 45 goals (T5th all-time at Trinity) and 27 assists for 117 points (4th all-time at Trinity) in 72 games, including 61 starts.

Berger started every game in the Trinity cage since joining the team in her second year on campus in 2016. She led all NESCAC goalies with an .878 save percentage (3rd in nation) and allowed nine goals to finish second in the league with a Trinity-record 0.53 GAA (8th in nation). Berger registered a Trinity-record 10 shutouts in 1,182 minutes in 2018.  She completed her three-year field hockey career with 311 saves (8th all-time at Trinity) for a .783 save percentage and a 1.53 GAA with a 39 win (4th all-time at Trinity) and 17 shutouts (4th all-time at Trinity) in 56 games and 3,930 minutes.

Amherst Senior defender Kendall Codey was named to the All-American Second Team, marking the 13th consecutive year Amherst has placed a player on the All-America squads. Codey was also a First Team All-NESCAC and First Team New England West Region selection. She finished second on the Mammoths in goals and points in 2018. Codey finished her career with six defensive saves, 18 goals, and nine assists for 45 points in 65 contests (61 starts).

Bowdoin junior Kara Finnerty was named a Third Team All-American, continuing a streak of 24 consecutive seasons that at least one Bowdoin player has been honored as an NFHCA Division III All-American. Finnerty repeats as a Third Team selection, earning the mark in her sophomore season as well. She ranked third in the league with 10 assists and second on the team in points with 28 while starting all 16 games.

Hamilton junior Michaela Giuttari represented the Continentals on the All-America Second Team for the second year in a row. An all-region honoree, Giuttari led the Continentals with 16 goals, including five game-winners, seven assists, and 39 points in 16 games. The forward tied for 25th in NCAA Division III in goals per game and was 18th in points per game. Her 39 points are tied for the second highest single-season total in program history. She has 48 goals, 18 assists, and 114 points in 48 career games. Giuttari ranks second all-time at Hamilton in goals and third in points.

Williams senior forward Libby Dolan garnered a spot on the All-America Third Team. An All-NESAC and All-New England West Team honoree, Dolan led the Ephs in goals each of the last two years, finishing this season with 13 goals, including seven game-winners, and two assists for a team-leading total of 28 points while starting all 17 games for the Ephs. Dolan played in 49 games and registered 79 points on 36 goals and seven assists. Her 36 career goals tie her for sixth all-time in school history and the 79 points rank ninth all-time in points.