HAMDEN, Connecticut – The Quinnipiac University women's lacrosse team announced its 2015 team awards in a ceremony held on Sunday, May 3. Awards for Outstanding Attack and Defensive Player were handed out along with honors for Most Improved player and the Becca Main Ultimate Bobcat Award. The team's Most Valuable Player was recognized at the Quinnipiac University Athletics and Recreation Awards later that day at the TD Bank Sports Center.
Senior Kyra Ochwat (Farmingdale, New York) was honored as the Team MVP for the second straight season. Junior Kathleen DeVito (Glastonbury, Connecticut) was tabbed as the Outstanding Attack Player while senior Vicki Kuhn (East Hempstead, New Hampshire) was named the Outstanding Defensive Player. Sophomore Danielle La Rocca (Voorhees, New Jersey) was the recipient of the Most Improved Player honor while senior Briana Fountain (Marshfield, Massachusetts) was honored with the Becca Main Ultimate Bobcat Award.
Ochwat becomes just the second player in program history to win two MVP awards as she joins Marissa Caroleo '12 who won the honor in the 2011-12 seasons. Ochwat was the driving force of the QU offense throughout the season as she led the team in every major offensive statistical category including goals (40), assists (15), points (55) and shots (87). She became the all-time leading scorer (215 points) and goal scorer (157 goals) in program history in the 2015 season while Ochwat also became the all-time leading point producer in the history of Quinnipiac lacrosse (men's or women's). A 2015 All-MAAC Second Team member, Ochwat improved her all-around game significantly in her senior season as she posted a new career-high with 27 draw controls which ranked third-best on the team. She also added 16 ground balls and a team-leading nine free position goals to finish off her incredible career.
"I think Kyra will be the all-time leading scorer in program history for a long time," said Quinnipiac head coach Danie Caro. "She did a lot more on the field this year than just score points for us. She became a complete player, contributing in all aspects of our team game. It will be very tough to replace her contributions next year."
Kuhn was named the Outstanding Defensive Player by the team for the second straight season as she captained a back line with shutdown abilities throughout the 2015 campaign. Often assigned the task of shutting down the opponent's top scoring option, Kuhn logged the most field minutes (974) of any player on the team this season while totaling 20 ground balls, 12 caused turnovers and 12 draw controls throughout 16 games played this season. A workhorse defender, Kuhn graduates as the two-time team captain and also having played in all 63 possible games throughout her four-year career.
"Vicki is arguably one of the best one on one shut down defenders to ever play at Quinnipiac," Caro said." What she does on the field doesn't necessarily show up in the box score, but it is invaluable to the team effort. She will be missed on and off the field next year."
The team's Outstanding Attack Player went to DeVito after she broke out in 2015 with a sensational offensive season in her first chance at consistent playing time. Coming into her junior campaign with 16 career points in 17 games, DeVito set new single-season career-highs across the board as she racked up 40 points on 29 goals and 11 assists in 16 games played (15 starts). A consistent starter from the beginning of the season, DeVito also led the team with a 63.6 percent (7-for-11) success rate on her free position opportunities. She rounded out her stat sheet with 11 ground balls, 11 draw controls and eight caused turnovers in 2015.
"Katie had a breakout year for us, and we are excited for next year because we think she can be even better," Caro said. "She really gained a lot of confidence in her abilities this season, and she now realizes that she can contribute to the team in multiple ways. It will be fun to work with her next year as a senior."
La Rocca was instant energy all season as the sophomore attack earned the Most Improved Player award after stepping into a leading role on the offensive end towards the latter portion of the season. After appearing in nine games in her freshman season with no points scored, La Rocca played in 14 games to go along with eight starts as she totaled eight points on six goals and two assists throughout the 2015 season. Her improved play and consistent energy in practice earned her minutes on the field which eventually led to a starting role near the midway point of the season. She picked up her first two career assists at Hofstra on March 8 and then scored six goals over the final eight games of the season.
"Danielle worked really hard and started to realize her potential this year," Caro said. "Her fitness level, work ethic, and understanding of the game all improved this season, and we expect her to show continued growth in her final two seasons."
Fountain was honored with the Becca Main Ultimate Bobcat Award, given to the player who best embodies the characteristics of the ideal student-athlete. Fountain certainly excels on and off the field as she had a career season while also earning her way on to the MAAC All-Academic Team in 2015. In her senior season this year, Fountain started all 14 games in which she appeared and was the jack-off-all-trades moving all-around the field into multiple different positions. She finished the season with a career-high six points (three goals, three assists) to go along with 18 ground balls, eight caused turnovers and two draw controls while serving as both an offensive and defensive midfielder as well as a little attack throughout the season.
"Briana is a true student-athlete, excelling on and off the field," Caro said "She is role model for her teammates, and her work ethic, selflessness, and inner strength is something that every athlete should strive for. We wish we had more players like her."
The team was also honored at the Quinnipiac Department of Athletics and Recreation Awards Ceremony as the recipients of the Positive Play Award. Always a vibrant member out and about in the Hamden region, this marks the fifth time in the last seven seasons and four of the last six in which the women's lacrosse team took home the Department's Positive Play Award. Senior Samantha Tilts (Port Washington, New York), sophomore Alexandra Hlesciak (Lumberton, New Jersey) and La Rocca, who served as the team's Positive Play captains throughout the season, accepted the award handed out by Quinnipiac Director of Athletics & Recreation Jack McDonald.
"I am incredibly proud of my entire team for their efforts to serve the community this past year. Their willingness to get involved, help others, and be role models is awesome. Our Positive Play leaders, Sam, Alex, and Danielle, did a really great job organizing our team service activities this year, and deserve a lot of the credit for this recognition."
The 2014-15 Quinnipiac women's lacrosse season has now officially come to a close as the Bobcats turn their attention to the fall campaign once school resumes in August. With five departing players, including the all-time leading scorer in Quinnipiac lacrosse history, the team will have a new look in store for the 2015-16 season.