FAIRFIELD, Conn. Freshman Marissa Caroleo (North Babylon, N.Y.) of the Quinnipiac University women's lacrosse team was named the Northeast Conference Rookie of the Year, the league announced at its annual banquet. Quinnipiac landed a conference-high four players on the All-NEC First Team. Senior midfielder Tiffany Manzi (Agawam, Mass.) was named to the First Team for the second year in a row and third time in her career, while senior Ashley Valentine (Friendship, Md.) joins her following a Second-Team honor last season.
Seniors Nicole Fiore (Monroe, Conn.) and Erin Coffey (Huntington, N.Y.) were also named to the First Team, helping the Bobcats to the fifth-best winning percentage in the nation (.857). Fiore and Valentine finished the season tied for the team lead in goals with 38. Fiore also had a team-high 52 points, while Valentine led the conference in caused turnovers per game (1.69).
Coffey finished third in the NEC in caused turnovers per game (1.5), and ranked third on the team with 39 ground balls this season. She is the defensive anchor of the league's stingiest defense, which averaged just 8.4 goals against. Coffey's best game this season came against Detroit on March 20 in Hamden. The senior defender collected six ground balls and had four caused turnovers in a 17-7 win against the Titans.
Caroleo walks away with the program's second NEC Rookie of the Year accolade, joining current teammate Manzi (2006) as the only two Bobcats to be honored. Her performance in her first season with the Bobcats garnered All-NEC Second Team honors. She ranked seventh on the Bobcats in points (24) on 18 goals and six assists. Caroleo matched the conference's single-game high in goals with six against Long Island on March 29. The six-goal, seven-point performance catapulted her to NEC Rookie of the Week honors. She is one of just two freshmen to be recognized as all-conference this season.
The Bobcats finished the regular season with a program-record eight-game win streak. Quinnipiac's 12 victories in 2009, also a school record, were sixth most in Division I.
Quinnipiac earned a share of the NEC Regular Season Championship for the second year in a row, after posting a 7-1 conference mark. The Bobcats took the No. 2 seed and will face third-seeded Mount St. Mary's in opening-round action of the NEC Tournament Friday. The two teams are scheduled to meet at Sacred Heart's Campus Field at 2:30 p.m. Quinnipiac won the only meeting this season between the Bobcats and Mountaineers, 19-5, on April 5 at the Quinnipiac Field Hockey & Lacrosse Turf Field.