PAWTUCKET, R.I. - The Little East Conference Field Hockey champion Worcester State University claimed three of the four major awards, and garnered eight All-Conference selections, as announced by the Little East on Thursday afternoon.
Senior forward Rachel Hopkins (Chelmsford, Mass.) received LEC Offensive Player of the Year honors, while senior defender Sarah Bjorn (Holden, Mass.) was crowned the Defensive Player of the Year. Head coach Alexa Carlson also took home hardware, as she was named Coach of the Year for the third time in the last four years.
Hopkins led the Little East in both goals and points in 2019, tallying 30 goals and 72 points. The senior set single season program records in both categories. Hopkins was a two-time NFHCA Division III Offensive Player of the Week, and earned LEC Tournament MVP honors with eight goals and two assists in the three-game championship run. In the tournament, Hopkins scored the game-winning goal in all three games, including in a 3-2 overtime win over Southern Maine in the LEC Semifinals.
Bjorn has a huge piece of Worcester State’s back line this season. In LEC competition this season, the Lancers averaged just 0.99 goals against per game, third in the league. Bjorn and the Lancer defense also allowed just 36 shots on goal in 12 games. The senior, who transferred into Worcester State prior to the season, started in all 23 games, and scored two goals on the year.
Both Hopkins and Bjorn earned First Team All-Conference team.
Carlson led Worcester State to its winningest season in program history, with a record of 18-5. The Lancers won their first ever Little East Championship under Carlson, with a dominant 6-0 win over rival Keene State in the title game, making Worcester State the first affiliate member to win an LEC field hockey championship. Under Carlson’s guidance, Worcester State also set program records in goals (86) and assists (76) in a season.
Senior Olivia Antonelli (Westford, Mass.) and juniors Sarah Duff (Warren, Mass.) and Coley Hayes (Norwood, Mass.) also received Little East First Team nods on Thursday.
Antonelli graduates as Worcester State’s all-time goals and points leader, with 63 goals and 157 points. The senior scored 22 goals in her senior season, while also dishing out 15 assists. During the season, she was a two-time LEC Offensive Player of the Week.
Duff was a crucial ball-moving midfielder for the Lancers on their way to the championship. The junior started all 23 games for Worcester State this season, scoring three goals and adding 10 assists, good for third on the team.
Hayes was Worcester State’s fourth-leading scorer in 2019, with nine goals and six assists for 24 points. The junior flipped between both the midfield and defensive positions during the season, and her strong showing in the LEC Tournament earned her Little East Defensive Player of the Week honors.
Goalkeeper Jess Hopkins (Chelmsford, Mass.) was Worcester State’s lone selection onto the Second Team All-LEC. Hopkins started all 23 games in goal for the Lancers, with 18 wins and four complete game shutouts. Hopkins was the winning goalkeeper in 10 shutouts for Worcester State, and finished the season with a 1.36 goals against average.
Seniors Sophia Monopoli (Worcester, Mass.) and Cassidy Windler (Holden, Mass.) rounded out Worcester State’s honors with All-Conference Honorable Mention honors. Monopoli was Worcester State’s third-leading scorer with 12 goals and eight assists for 32 points. Windler led the Lancer defense with three defensive saves on the season, while also picking up four assists.
For Antonelli, the senior wraps up her career with All-Conference honors all four years for the Lancers. Rachel Hopkins earns her third consecutive All-LEC nod, while Hayes and Jess Hopkins earn their second honors. Bjorn, Duff, Monopoli, and Windler all receive their first All-Conference awards.