UNH women's lax sweeps America East awards

DURHAM, N.H. -- The University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team, ranked No 18 in the nation with a 13-4 overall record, swept the three major awards handed out Wednesday evening by America East as Jess Burnap (New Canaan, Conn.) was named Player of the Year, Cristina Covucci (Concord, Mass.) was awarded Rookie of the Year and head coach Sandy Bridgeman was voted Coach of the Year. Bridgeman, the eighth-year head coach of the Wildcats, received the same distinction in 2002 and 2001.

Including Burnap and Covucci, seven UNH players were named to the America East All-Conference First Team. The other honorees were Katie Leland (Timonium Md.), Laura Dosdall (Wellesley, Mass.), Sarah Cahill (Lexington, Mass.), Renee Nemmers (Englewood, Colo.) and Stacey Plati (Nashua, N.H.). In addition, Kelly Blaney (Stony Brook, N.Y.) was an All-Conference Second Team selection and both Covucci and Plati were selected to the All-Rookie Team.

Bridgeman guided UNH to a school-record 12 consecutive victories this season and the team also tied the benchmark for victories in a season with its 13-4 overall record. The Wildcats went undefeated (6-0) in conference play for the second time in the past three seasons and they broke the school records for both goals (230) and points (303) in a season.

Burnap, a junior attack and former Rookie of the Year honoree (2002), broke UNH's single-season records for both goals (61) and points (69) in a season. She is currently ranked fifth in the nation in goals (3.59 per game) and 16th in points (4.06 per game), as well as first in America East in goals and third in points. Burnap leads the Wildcats in goals, is second in both points and ground balls and third in assists. Her season highlights include tying the school single-game record for goals (eight) as well as recording her 100th career point and 100th career goal. Burnap's 2004 awards include two-time selection as America East Player of the Week (3/16; 3/29) and womenslacrosse.com Honor Roll (3/8).

Covucci, a freshman defender, was a four-time selection as America East Defender of the Week this season (3/29; 4/12; 4/26; 5/3). She is currently No. 7 in the nation in ground balls (3.59 per game) and 11th in caused turnovers (2.00 per game), as well as second in America East in both of those statistics. Covucci leads UNH in ground balls, caused turnovers and draw controls and contributed to the offense with three goals and three assists. She was credited with five or more ground balls in a game six times and recorded nine games with multiple caused turnovers as well as nine games with multiple draw controls. Covucci's season highlights include a career-type game at UMass in which she recorded seven ground balls, seven draw controls and three caused turnovers.

Leland, a sophomore attack, broke the UNH single-season points record with her 69th of the year vs. UMBC and ended the regular season with 75 points. She is ranked 10th in the nation in points (4.41 ppg), 18th in goals (2.94 gpg) and 18th in assists (1.47 apg), as well as first in America East in points and second in both goals and assists. In addition to her team-high 75 points, Leland has a team-best 25 assists and is second in goals with 50, as well as fourth in ground balls. Her season highlights include scoring a career-high six goals vs. Albany and UMBC, as well as personal-best eight-point performances against Albany, UMBC and Stony Brook. Leland was a two-time America East Player of the Week recipient (4/19; 4/26) as well as InsideLacrosse.com Player of the Week (4/19) and Honor Roll (5/3) selection.

Dosdall, a junior midfielder, ranks second on the team in both ground balls (42) and caused turnovers (19), as well as fourth in draw controls (19). On offense, she has tallied 18 goals and three assists for 21 points. Her season highlights include a career-high three goals at Vermont on April 28 and tying her personal best of four points in that game. Dosdall recorded a point in 12 of 17 games with seven multiple-point games (which includes six multiple-goal games). Her other 2004 honors include America East Defender of the Week (4/19) and womenslacrosse.com Honor Roll (4/19).

Cahill, a senior midfielder and tri-captain, has 20 points on 17 goals and three assists this season and ranks third on the team in ground balls with 33 and is fifth in draw controls (18). She netted a career-high four goals vs. Binghamton and matched her personal best of five points in that game, and other season highlights included her 50th career point and 50th career goal. Cahill recorded a point in 11 of 16 games with five multiple-point efforts.

Nemmers, a junior defender and tri-captain, started the first 13 games of the season before being sidelined by an injury during the April 18th game vs. Rutgers. At the time of her injury, she ranked third on the team in ground balls and tied for fourth in caused turnovers. Nemmers tied her career high of two goals with a pair of tallies at Fairfield.

Plati, a freshman goalkeeper, immediately stepped into a starting role as a rookie and has started all 17 games. She ranks eighth in the nation in GAA (8.00) and that mark leads America East. Plati has a 13-3 record with a .502 save percentage and in six conference games, she is 6-0 with a 4.64 GAA and .532 save percentage. She has made 10+ saves six times, including a personal-best 12 vs. UConn to earn her first career victory. Plati recorded impressive consecutive shutout streaks of 64:16 and 57:13 in a four-game span late in the season.

Blaney, a senior attack and tri-captain, ranks second on the team in assists (18), third in points (40) and tied for fourth in goals (22), as well as sixth - second among attackers - in ground balls with 26. She is ranked sixth in America East in assists at 1.06 per game. Blaney's season highlights include scoring a career-high four goals at Vermont and a personal best six points (three goals, three assists) at Fairfield, as well as matching her career high of three assists in consecutive games vs. Sacred Heart and Fairfield.

UNH is the top seed and host of the 2004 America East Women's Lacrosse Championships, which begin May 6 with a semifinal matchup between UNH and fourth-seeded Albany (6-10 overall, 3-3 America East). Game time at Memorial Field is 1 p.m. The conference championship game is May 8 at 12 p.m.

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