Adams, Lesher, Paton And Thomas Highlight All-PL WLAX Team

April 21, 2014

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - The No. 12 Loyola University Maryland women’s lacrosse team picked up Patriot League Offensive, Midfield and Defensive Player of the Year honors, in addition to Coach of the Year, while the Greyhounds placed a league-best six players on the 2014 All-Patriot League first and second teams, as announced by the league office Monday.

Senior Marlee Paton was tabbed the midfielder of the year, while junior Annie Thomas was voted the offensive player of the year and sophomore Maddy Lesher was named the defensive player of the year. Head coach Jen Adams was named the league’s coach of the year after leading the Greyhounds to an undefeated 8-0 record in conference games and the Patriot League regular season title in their inaugural season in the league.

Juniors Hannah Schmitt and Taryn VanThof were also named to the Patriot League First Team with Lesher, Paton and Thomas, while senior Katherine Reinhard was included on the second team.

Paton was tabbed the League’s midfielder of the year after being named the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. The native of Seaholme, Australia leads the Patriot League in goals and is second to Thomas in assists and points in conference games. She’s also second in the league in caused turnovers and fourth in ground balls, making her the only player in the league to be ranked in the top-five of all five statistical categories. This marks Paton’s fourth all-conference honor and her third first-team nod, while it’s the second major award she’s won, garnering BIG EAST Midfielder of the Year honors in 2012.

Thomas ranks in the top-10 in the NCAA in assists (31) and the top-15 in points this season, leading the Patriot League in conference games with 44 points, while the next closest individual opponent has 28 points. Thomas, a four-time Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week, has had a point in the last 34 games she’s played in and has had at least three points in every league game this year. This marks the third all-conference honor for the Bel Air, Md., native, as she was a two-time BIG EAST honoree.

Lesher has drawn a match-up on each of Loyola’s opponents’ top attackers this year, limiting each of them to no more than one goal, giving up just four goals in the eight games. The defender from Gladwyne, Pa., also plays a key role in Loyola’s transition game, helping to consistently clear the ball and jumpstart Loyola’s offense. So far this year, the two-time all-conference honoree has 19 ground balls and 12 caused turnovers.

Schmitt is critical to Loyola’s offense and transition game and ranks third on the team in goals and points this year, contributing 26 goals and 34 points. Schmitt has had four hat tricks this year, including a career-best six goals in the opener at No. 6 Virginia. She also contributed a career-best eight points in Loyola’s inaugural Patriot League game at Lafayette. This marks the third all-conference accolade for Schmitt, while it’s her first first-team accolade.

VanThof has been dominant on the draw control this year and leads the league with 68 in conference games. She broke the Patriot League record for draws in a single game, winning 15 at Lafayette and Boston University, while she also broke Loyola’s career and single-season records as just a junior. A midfielder from Livonia, N.Y., VanThof is ranked third in the league with 36 ground balls this year and in addition to a 24-game scoring streak, she has 25 goals this year. This marks the second time VanThof has been named to an all-conference team.

Reinhard, a defender from Ridgewood, N.J., has been a mainstay in the Greyhounds’ defense the past three years. Drawing a match-up through various games this season, she’s helped the defense keep seven of its last eight opponents to six goals or less. With 15 ground balls and 10 caused turnovers this season, Reinhard scooped up her 50th career ground ball vs. Holy Cross. This all-conference nod is the first for Reinhard throughout her career.

The Greyhounds will open play in the Patriot League Tournament on Thursday when it hosts a semifinal game at Ridley Athletic Complex at 5 p.m.