April 29, 2014
NEW YORK – A pair of seniors earned major awards from the BIG EAST for the second time in as many seasons on Tuesday when the league announced its all-conference honors and trophies on Tuesday afternoon. St. John’s Kieran McArdle and Villanova’s John LoCascio repeated as the BIG EAST Attack Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, respectively, and were joined by three other players picking up their first trophies from the conference.
Denver picked up two of those other trophies as senior Jeremy Noble was named the Midfielder of the Year, while junior teammate Ryan LaPlante was tabbed Goalkeeper of the Year. Marquette’s Joe Amplo rounded out the honors with the Coach of the Year trophy.
The All-BIG EAST team and major awards were voted on by the league’s seven head coaches who could not vote for themselves or their own student-athletes.
McArdle was named back-to-back Attack Player of the Year in the BIG EAST after leading the conference most of the season and sitting at or near the top of the NCAA’s standings in goals, assists and points. He finished his senior campaign with BIG EAST-bests of 40 goals, 40 assists and 80 points. In BIG EAST games, McArdle led all players with 23 assists and 35 points to go with 12 goals.
Regarded as one of the best long-stick midfielders in the country, LoCascio put together another strong season to collect his second straight BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year award. After entering the year as a Preseason All-America pick and the BIG EAST Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, LoCascio leads Villanova with 32 caused turnovers and is second on the team with 68 ground balls entering the tournament.
Noble was the unanimous selection by the head coaches for Midfielder of the Year. The versatile Denver senior is second in the BIG EAST with 27 assists and a 1.93 per-game average. Noble has also been a defensive stalwart for the Pioneers with a team-best 16 caused turnovers to go with 38 ground balls, good for second on the squad.
LaPlante has been head coach Bill Tierney’s leadoff goaltender in 12 of 14 games this season in the unique goalkeeper platoon employed by the Pioneers. He boasts an 8.90 goals-against average while stopping nearly 58 percent of shots sent his way en route to building an 8-0 record.
Amplo captures his first Coach of the Year honor after guiding Marquette to the BIG EAST Tournament in its first season in the conference and just second as a Division I varsity program. The Golden Eagles are 6-9 overall and 4-2 in the BIG EAST, having picked up wins during the season against fellow tournament qualifier Rutgers as well as Georgetown, Providence and St. John’s.
In all, Denver led with seven All-BIG EAST selections, including a conference-best six on the first team. Noble and LaPlante were named to the first team alongside junior Wes Berg (33 goals, 15 assists, 5 EMO goals) at attack, junior Erik Adamson (33 G, 7 A, 16 ground balls) at midfield, freshman Christian Burgdorf (13 games played, 18 GB) on defense and senior goalkeeper Jamie Faus (14 GP, 4-2, 8.20 goals-against average, .540 save percentage) at the coaches’ at-large selection. Sophomore attackman Jack Bobzien (34 G, 17 A) was the Pios’ sole second-team representative.
Villanova followed with a pair of first-team All-BIG EAST honorees and five total. LoCascio earned first-team recognition at long pole while classmate Chris Conroy (14 GP, 19 GB) made the top squad on defense. Fellow senior Chris Piccirilli (14 GP, 5 G, 27 GB) was a second-team choice on defense along with sophomore midfielder Jack Curran (16 G, 14 A, 16 GB) and freshman goalkeeper Dan Willis (14 GP, 5-8, 9.93 GAA, .489)
Marquette, Rutgers and St. John’s tied with four all-league selections each. Redshirt senior Tyler Melnyk (attack; 36 G, 14 A, 84 shots) and redshirt sophomore B.J. Grill (defense; 15 GP, 34 GB) picked up first-team citations, and redshirt sophomores Kyle Whitlow (midfield; 22 G, 10 A) and Liam Byrnes (long stick midfielder; 2 G, 43 GB) were second-team selections from Marquette. McArdle was St. John’s only first-team representative, while the senior duo of Kevin Cernuto (attack; 30 G, 11 A, 5 EMO goals) and Ryan Fitzgerald (midfield; 22 G, 11 A, 22 GB) joined junior defender Mark DiFrangia (14 GP, 37 GB) on the second team. All four of Rutgers’ picks were second-team choices in redshirt senior Anthony Terranova (17 G, 17 A, 27 GB) at midfield, senior Nick Contino (15 GP, 2 G, 30 GB) on defense, junior Joe Nardella (13 GP, 5 G, 7 A, .650 face-off) as the specialist and sophomore Scott Bieda (18 G, 21 A) at attack.
Georgetown rounded out the team with two first-team All-BIG EAST representatives in graduate student Tyler Knarr (14 GP, 3 G, 3 A, .659 face-off) at specialist and freshman Peter Conley (24 G, 13 A, 77 shots) at midfield.
Berg, McArdle, Noble, Grill, LoCascio and Knarr were all unanimous first-team selections at their position.
The 2014 BIG EAST Tournament presented by New York Life comes to Villanova Stadium for a second straight year with two semifinal contests on Thursday and the championship game Saturday. No. 1 Denver battles fourth-seeded Rutgers in the first semi at 4:30 p.m. Eastern and second seed Marquette takes on No. 3 Villanova in the nightcap at 7 p.m. Eastern. Both games will stream live on BIGEAST.com for free. Saturday’s championship game will air live on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 4:30 p.m. Eastern. The champion earns an automatic berth to the 2014 NCAA Tournament, which features an expanded field of 18 teams this season.
All-BIG EAST Team and Major Awards in Men’s Lacrosse
Attack Player of the Year – Kieran McArdle, St. John’s, Sr.
Midfielder of the Year – Jeremy Noble, Denver, Sr. (&)
Defensive Player of the Year – John LoCascio, Villanova, Sr., LSM
Goalkeeper of the Year – Ryan LaPlante, Denver, Jr.
Coach of the Year – Joe Amplo, Marquette
First Team All-BIG EAST
Wes Berg, Denver, Jr., A ^
Tyler Melnyk, Marquette, R-Sr., A
Kieran McArdle, St. John’s, Sr., A ^
Erik Adamson, Denver, Jr., M
Jeremy Noble, Denver, Sr., M ^
Peter Conley, Georgetown, Fr., M
Christian Burgdorf, Denver, Fr., D
B.J. Grill, Marquette, R-So., D ^
Chris Conroy, Villanova, Sr., D
John LoCascio, Villanova, Sr., LSM ^
Tyler Knarr, Georgetown, Gr., FOS ^
Jamie Faus, Denver, Sr., GK (at-large selection)
Ryan LaPlante, Denver, Jr., GK
Second Team All-BIG EAST %
Jack Bobzien, Denver, So., A
Scott Bieda, Rutgers, So., A
Kevin Cernuto, St. John’s, Sr., A
Kyle Whitlow, Marquette, R-So., M
Anthony Terranova, Rutgers, R-Sr., M
Ryan Fitzgerald, St. John’s, Sr., M
Jack Curran, Villanova, So., M
Nick Contino, Rutgers, Sr., D
Mark DiFrangia, St. John’s, Jr., D
Chris Piccirilli, Villanova, Sr., D
Liam Byrnes, Marquette, R-So., LSM
Joe Nardella, Rutgers, Jr., FOS
Dan Willis, Villanova, Fr., GK
& - unanimous selection for Midfielder of the Year
^ - unanimous first-team selection
% - second team included four midfielders because of a tie in the voting