Lesher, Thomas, VanThof Earn Major Awards From Patriot League

April 20, 2015

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - After going undefeated in the Patriot League for a second-straight season, Loyola University Maryland women's lacrosse senior Annie Thomas, redshirt senior Taryn VanThof and junior Maddy Lesher picked up Patriot League offensive, midfield and defensive player of the year honors, respectively, as released by the conference office Monday.

Senior Hannah Schmitt joined the trio on the All-Patriot League First Team and senior Kara Burke, junior Molly Wolf and sophomore Bailey Mathis were included on the second team. Loyola leads all schools with seven all-conference honorees, followed by Navy with six and Colgate with five.

This also marks the second-straight year that Thomas and Lesher have taken home the offensive and defensive player of the year awards, while VanThof becomes the second Greyhound to pick up midfielder of the year honors, as former All-American Marlee Paton earned the accolade last year.

This marks the fourth first-team all-conference honor for Thomas, as she was a two-time first-team All-BIG EAST performer before picking up a pair of offensive player of the year accolades from the Patriot League. The attacker from Bel Air, Maryland leads the Patriot League and is ranked third in the NCAA with 41 assists and tied for ninth in points (68). She has had a point in every game this season and was the League's top single-game point scorer with nine at American. Earlier in the season, Thomas became the first Greyhound - and the 50th player in the NCAA - with 100 career goals and assists, while she also broke Loyola's all-time career assist record, with 138 so far. She enters the Patriot League Tournament just six assists away from breaking Loyola's 22-year-old single-season record for assists.

Lesher, a three-time all-conference honoree, is one of the top defenders in the NCAA and anchors the league's top defensive unit. In drawing a match-up through seven of the eight conference games, the Gladwyne, Pennsylvania native forced her opposition into committing a turnover twice as much as they scored (7 goals, 15 TOs), while her 36 ground balls and 19 caused turnovers lead the Greyhounds this season. She also leads the League in ground balls in conference only games, winning 22, while she's helped lead the defense to the top ranking in the league in GAA and caused turnovers.

VanThof is a dynamic player that can make her presence felt all over the field. One of the top true midfielders in the NCAA, VanThof ranks 10th in the Patriot League with 23 points during conference games, scoring 15 goals and adding eight assists. A three-time all-conference honoree, VanThof became the 26th player in program history with 100 career goals this year. For the season, the midfielder from Livonia, New York, leads the team with 58 draw controls, extending her school record total to 285 career draws.

Schmitt picked up her fourth all-conference honor after scoring in every game this season, including the last 21-straight games. She's contributed eight hat tricks this season and has scored multiple goals in all but one conference game. With 42 goals and 56 points this year, she ranks third in the Patriot League and tied for second on the team. For her career, she leads the Greyhounds with 154 goals, which ranks eighth in all-time program history, while her 191 points is ranked 10th at Loyola.

Burke is having a standout year for the Greyhounds and has picked up her first all-conference honor for her play. Leading the team in goals (43) and sitting tied for second in points (56), Burke leads the Patriot League in goals during conference games and is second in all games. She's had a point in all but one conference game, including contributing a hat trick in seven of the last eight contests. She also had at least four points in eight games this season, including a personal-best eight on six goals and two assists against Colgate, and became the 25th player in program history to reach the 100-career goals plateau.

Mathis, a defensive-minded midfielder, is the Greyhounds' go-to player to use in a face-guard situation. She's also relied on heavily in transition and at the draw, as she ranks second on the team with 24 draw controls. Hailing from Lake Worth, Florida, Mathis scored her first career goal this season and has scored three so far, in addition to nine ground balls and nine caused turnovers.

Wolf leads the Patriot League in goals against average (5.60) and save percentage (.579) through conference games, while she ranks sixth in the NCAA with a .498 save percentage this season and 14th with a 7.71 GAA. The Baltimore, Maryland native is having the best season for a Greyhound goalie since Kim Lawton posted a 7.22 GAA in 2004. A versatile goalkeeper who's just as capable of causing a turnover as she is making a save, Wolf hasn't lost a conference game in two season and held four league opponents to four goals or less this season. She also posted 10-plus saves through five games this season, including stopping a season-best 12 at Navy.

The Greyhounds will return to action on Friday when it hosts the semifinals of the Patriot League Championships at Ridley Athletic Complex at 5 p.m. Loyola's opponent will be determined after Tuesday's quarterfinal round.