CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - UMBC, the top seed for the upcoming America East Men’s Lacrosse Championship, has been rewarded for its success with a pair of end of season awards as Jeremy Blevins (Cockeysville, Md./Calvert Hall) was named the conference’s Player of the Year and Don Zimmerman was tabbed Coach of the Year for the second straight season Tuesday afternoon. University of Hartford’s Scott Bement (Canandaigua, N.Y./Canandaigua) was chosen Rookie of the Year to cap the three major award honorees. The winners, along with the all-conference teams, were determined in a vote by the league’s head coaches.
Blevins, a senior goaltender, anchors a Retriever defense which is among the best in the country. He leads America East and ranks eighth in the nation in goals against average (7.58) and 18th in save percentage (0.56). A first-team all-conference selection last season, Blevins is a nominee for the Tewaarton Award, which annually recognizes the top player in the country. He was named America East Player of the Week on April 6 after holding Towson and Binghamton to eight combined goals and making 22 saves in the two UMBC wins.
Zimmerman, who is in his 16th season at the helm of the Retrievers, led his squad to a 10-3 record in the regular season and a share of the league’s regular-season title, the fifth straight year UMBC has claimed at least a share of the crown. His team, which has been ranked as high as No. 6 in the nation this season, ranks in among the top 10 in the nation in both scoring offense (fifth, 12.3 goals per game) and scoring defense (ninth, 7.77 goals allowed per game). This is the third time in four seasons Zimmerman has taken home the award, as he was also named Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2008.
Bement, a freshman goaltender, was a bright spot for Hartford this season leading the league and ranking 13th in the country in save percentage (0.57). Bement, who was also second in America East with a 9.76 goals against margin, had his breakout game in the Hawks’ 10-8 upset over No. 6 UMBC on April 18. In that contest, Bement made a career-high 19 saves, including 11 in the second half, to hold the nation’s fifth-best offense to four goals under their average. He was tabbed Inside Lacrosse National Player of the Week for his efforts.
Joining Blevins on the all-conference first team are attackers Brian Caufield (Bay Shore, N.Y./West Islip) and Joe Resetarits (Hamburg, N.Y./Hamburg) from University at Albany and Jordan McBride (New Westminster, B.C./New Westminster) from Stony Brook University. Caufield, a repeat selection from a year ago, led America East in points (46) and assists (22), while Resetarits ranked among the league’s best with 40 points on 31 goals and nine assists. McBride, the 2008 Rookie of the Year and a first-teamer for the second consecutive year, paces America East and is fourth in the nation with 37 goals.
The midfield consists of UMBC’s Peet Poillon (Cranberry Township, Pa./Seneca Valley/Ohio State) and Kyle Wimer (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) as well as Stony Brook’s Kevin Crowley (New Westminster, B.C./New Westminster/Simon Fraser). All three rank in the conference’s top 10 in points with Crowley and Poillon each tied for fourth with 46 points and Wimer eighth with 36.
The first-team defense is made up of Albany’s Garrett Pedley (Bow, N.H./Bow), Binghamton University’s Derrick Danieu (Camillus, N.Y./West Genesee) and UMBC’s Kevin Goedeke (Fallston, Md./Fallston/CCBC-Essex). Pedley, a starter in each of the Great Danes’ 13 games, picked up 28 ground balls, while Danieu, an all-rookie choice last season, started all but one game for the Bearcats and anchored a defense that was tied for second with 9.8 goals allowed per game during conference play. Goedeke has started the last nine games, in which UMBC has allowed just 6.4 goals per contest.
The first-team specialists are longstick midfielder Steve Waldeck (Levittown, N.Y./MacArthur) from Stony Brook, shortstick midfielder Jordan Pierce (Glen Burnie, Md./Mount St. Joseph) from UMBC and faceoff specialist Adam Rand (Niantic, N.Y./East Lyme) from Stony Brook. Waldeck, a repeat first-team selection, led the league and ranked ninth in the country with 6.2 ground balls per game. Pierce has appeared in every game for the Retrievers and scored three goals with three assists, while Rand is the nation’s best faceoff man percentage wise, winning 64.2 percent of his draws.
The second team consists of Bement, plus attackers Corey Small (St. Catharines, Ontario/Holy Cross) from Albany and Matt Latham (Eldersburg, Md./Liberty) and Ryan Smith (Fallston, Md./Fallston/CCBC-Essex) from UMBC, midfielders John Alpizar (Summit, N.J./Summit) from Albany, Duncan Streeten (Corning, N.Y./Corning East) from Binghamton and Alex Hopmann (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis) from UMBC, defenders Mark Kelly (Syracuse, N.Y./East Genesse) from Albany, Conor Flynn (Corning, N.Y./Corning East) from Hartford and Matt Kresse (Setauket, N.Y./Ward Melville) from UMBC. Also on the second team are Chris Schongar (Clifton Park, N.Y./Shenendehowa) a longstick midfielder from Albany, Jared LaVerne (Jericho, N.Y./Syosset), a shortstick midfielder from Stony Brook and Tim Fallon (Lowell, Mass./Lawrence Academy), a faceoff specialist from Hartford.
Bement, Resetarits and LaVerne are joined on the All-Rookie squad by Albany’s Rocky Bonitatibus (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Yorktown) and Luke Cometti (Syracuse, N.Y./West Genesse), Binghamton’s Ben Waldron (Camillus, N.Y./West Genesse), Hartford’s Carter Bender (Caledon, Ontario/Brewster Academy), Ryan Compitello (Hauppauge, N.Y./Hauppauge) and Aidan Genik (Toronto, Ontario/Univ. of Western Ontario), UMBC’s Rob Grimm (Black River, N.Y./Carthage) and University of Vermont’s Geoff Worley (Coronado, Calif./Coronado).
Twenty-three of the 26 all-conference sections will be in action at the 2009 America East Men’s Lacrosse Championship, which begins on Wednesday, April 29 with semifinals contests at UMBC and Stony Brook. For more information on the Championship, including links to live stats, radio broacasts and streaming video, log on to the conference’s official website www.AmericaEast.com and navigate to Men’s Lacrosse Championship Central.