Field Hockey Earns Copious Little East Honors

Nov. 12, 2009

NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-Six members of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's field hockey team have earned post-season honors from the Little East Conference.

Junior forward Stephanie Kinchla (Falmouth, MA/Falmouth HS), junior midfielder Becca Festinger (Greenfield, MA/Greenfield HS) and senior defender Laurie David (Yarmouthport, MA/Dennis-Yarmouth HS) were named first team All-Conference, sophomore defender Maille Lynch-Gilbert (Petersham, MA/Quabbin Regional HS) was named second team All-Conference, and freshman forward Eleanor Taylor (Fairhaven, MA/Bishop Stang HS) was named Rookie of the Year. Head Coach Nicole Castonguay was named LEC Coach of the Year for the third time in her four seasons at UMD and the fourth time in her career.

Kinchla led the Corsairs in scoring with 21 goals and six assists for 48 points. Festinger had two goals and five assists for nine points, David had one assist and was named Most Valuable Player of the LEC Tournament, and Lynch-Gilbert scored a goal and added three assists for five points. Taylor was second in scoring with 11 goals and two assists for 24 points.

"Steph is a tremendous player," said Castonguay. "She's a game day player, she always wants to play, and she loves field hockey and wants to be able to play and do her academics, and this is the perfect place form her. She had a lot of pressure on her as the returning LEC Offensive Player of the Year, and she should get a lot of credit for scoring 22 goals while playing against the best defenders. Becca came from a great program where she got great coaching. It was just a matter of fitting her into our game plan. Her goals were to win LEC and be All-Conference, and I'm glad she was honored, as she does a lot of the unnoticed stuff during the game. I think Laurie could have been on the first team in all of her four years. She has amazing drive, goes hard in practice, and our best players can't stand playing against her because she us a relentless defender. Every game, she plays against the other team's best scorer. You get recognized for goals and assists and defensive saves, but not goals that are prevented, and she is the best of the best. Maille can play at any level, and her athleticism is part of why she's successful. She has a low block tackle, which allows her to take away a lot of the field. For our defenders to be recognized means they stood out to LEC coaches, and this season was just the beginning for Maille. Eleanor had opportunities to play at a higher level, and she has a passion and a vision for the game. She's a good leader by example, she works hard every single day and everyone respects her. She will use our loss to Middlebury as a reason to get better."

Castonguay said her award is a reflection on her staff and her team. "I am honored because (Assistant Coaches) Temple (Mitchell), Michael (Pallister) and I work so well together," said Castonguay. "Finding coaching chemistry is always challenging. Our seniors are an extension of the coaching staff. The competition in the conference keeps getting stronger and stronger, and it is rewarding when I see our team succeed and coaching honors go with that."

"Nicki thoroughly deserves the award," said UMass Dartmouth Director of Athletics Ian Day. "With an LEC crown and an NCAA berth, she has helped bring excitement and success to the program. There is a real sense that we are just in the beginning of a dynasty, and this will be just one of many accolades to come for Coach Castonguay."

UMass Dartmouth finished at 15-7 after tying for first place in the LEC, winning the post-season tournament and advancing to the NCAAs for the first time ever.

UMASS DARTMOUTH FIELD HOCKEY