New England College junior Matt Richard (Weare, N.H.) and sophomore Connor Fries have been selected to repeat as the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Men's Lacrosse Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, while Pilgrim freshman teammate Jacob Blanchette (Weare, N.H.) was tabbed Rookie of the Year. Green Mountain's Carl Diethelm (Asheville, N.C.) was chosen as the Senior Scholar Athlete of the Year, NEC head coach Jedd Brown was voted as the Coach of the Year and eight men's lacrosse student-athletes were named to the Sportsmanship Team to headline the 2017 All-Conference announcement.
NAC All-Conference selections are determined by a vote of the conference coaches.
Fries claimed his second-consecutive Defensive Player of the Year award after another dominant performance in the NEC midfield this season. The sophomore collected 38 ground balls and caused 13 turnovers in NAC action, while also tallying two goals and two assists. The long-stick midfielder and his teammates allowed all conference opponents to only score a league-low 15 goals against them. Impressively, the freshman recorded at least one caused turnover in five out of the six NAC games he played in, while scooping up five or more ground balls in five conference games. Fries claimed NAC Defensive Player of the Week five times this season. In all of Division III, the sophomore ranks fifth in caused turnovers per game (3.15) and 41st in ground balls per game (6.77).
Blanchette has enjoyed a remarkable rookie campaign with the Pilgrims. The freshman standout finished the conference regular season as the league leader in goals (26) and ranked second in both assists (17) and points (43). He tallied 13 ground balls and caused one turnover in NAC action. He started in all seven conference games, while tallying at least five points in five games and dishing at least two assists in four games. The rookie scored two or more goals in six conference matchups, including four games in which he found the back of the net at least four times. Blanchette was selected NAC Rookie of the Week six times this season.
Diethelm is being recognized for excelling academically and athletically throughout his undergraduate experience, while serving as a role model in both the classroom and on the field. He is majoring in Renewable Energy and Ecological Design and is known on the Green Mountain campus as "Compost Carl." He has a passion for reducing food waste and promoting food justice and led a successful effort on campus to reduce post-consumer food waste from 800 pounds in a week to 600 pounds. He also worked with Chartwells (the college's dining hall provider) to redistribute food that can't be served in the dining hall to local people who need it. His commitment to tackling the post-consumer waste challenge is recognized beyond the boundaries of the GMC campus. In 2016, Diethelm was one of just 60 students nationwide to earn a coveted Udall undergraduate scholarship. The Udall scholarship is offered to college sophomores and juniors who demonstrate exceptional leadership and action on environmental justice issues. As the President of the Student Campus Greening Fund, he is in charge of directing funds to proposed projects on campus. He is also the Sustainability Office Manager where he recruited, hired and supervised a team of nine student-workers as well as conducted three waste audits. As the Organics Outreach Coordinator, Diethelm notified over 100 restaurants about Vermont Act 148: Universal Recycling law requirements for composting. Four of his articles were published in the local Mountain Times newspaper to raise awareness about the different requirements of the law. He hosted a backyard composting panel that brought 40 residents and experts to discuss how to improve their compost systems and comply with Act 148. For additional outreach, he created an informational video that was broadcasted on the public news station and initiated a website update. As a Waste Diversion Specialist he oversaw compost and recycling transport to proper locations. Under his guidance, the office diverted over 50 tons of recyclable and compostable material during his two-year tenure. Diethelm implemented Project Clean Plate, which resulted in a 25% reduction of weekly post-consumer food waste from students. Over his three-year career on the Eagles' squad, he has established program records for wins in a season and ranks among the top five in minutes played, saves and goals against average since Green Mountain affiliated with the NAC. He also is the winningest goalie in Eagle history since joining the conference. Diethelm was the starting goalie for the program's first-ever trip to a NAC Championship game in 2015.
Brown, in his fourth year at the helm of the Pilgrims, has been honored by his peers with his first NAC Coach of the Year honor. He led his squad to the No. 1 seed in the NAC Tournament after compiling an undefeated 7-0 record in conference games. In NAC action, the Pilgrims topped the league in goals (158), goals per game (22.57), shots-on-goal percentage (68.4), assists (105), goals against (15), goals-against average (2.14), and save percentage (73.2). NEC also ranked second in ground balls with 304. Brown's squad is currently ranked in the top-50 in all of Division III in nine different statistical categories, including most impressively a No. 2 ranking in assists with 180. Also noteworthy, the Pilgrims are third in the nation in assists per game (11.25), sixth in points per game (26.88), ninth in scoring margin (8.06), 12th in scoring offense (15.63), and 13th in shot percentage (34.6).
Joining Blanchette (attacker), Fries (long-stick midfielder), and Richard (attack) on the first team were Castleton senior midfielder Louis Alhage (New Milford, Conn.), junior defender Edward Doton (Barnard, Vt.), and junior faceoff specialist Joshua Gosselin (Barre, Vt.), Lyndon sophomore defender Brandon Hunter (Glastonbury, Conn.) and junior midfielder Ian Pelkey (Milton, Vt.), New England College senior defender Hunter Coakley (Bridgewater, Mass.), senior attacker Sean Largay (Norwalk, Conn.), and sophomore midfielder Daniel Medvetz (Henniker, N.H.) and Thomas junior goalkeeper Connor Lamberton (Shohola, Pa.).
Second team selections include Castleton sophomore Peyton Faasse (Jefferson, N.J.), sophomore goalkeeper Brandon Myron (Troy, N.Y.), and junior attacker Sam Siegel (Brattleboro, Vt.), Husson sophomore attacker Zach Glazier (Winthrop, Maine) and senior defender Tyler Haskell (Lewiston, Maine), Johnson State senior goalkeeper Jay Palmisano (Barre, Vt.), Lyndon sophomore attacker Spencer Aubin (Sharon,Mass.) and sophomore midfielder Shea Jones (Hull, Mass.), Maine Maritime junior midfielder Chase Whittemore (Skowhegan, Maine), New England College sophomore faceoff specialist Austin Frankel (Peabody, Mass.) and freshman defender Keenan Haase (Mission Viejo, Calif.), and Thomas junior midfielder Colby Blondin (Colchester, Vt.) and senior defender Alex Lawson (Hockessin, Del.).
The NAC Men's Lacrosse Sportsmanship Team is reserved for those who have distinguished themselves through demonstrated acts of sportsmanship and ethical behavior. The honorees are individuals who have positively affected the lacrosse culture and environment and whose behavior clearly demonstrates sportsmanship and integrity that go beyond the playing rules and etiquette. The following ten individuals have been selected to the 2017 Sportsmanship Team, Castleton senior Joey Gagne (Colchester, Vt.), Green Mountain's Diethelm, Husson freshman Jacob Boothby (Kennebunk, Maine), Johnson State freshman Ethan Wehse (Stowe, Vt.), Lyndon junior Tim Scanlon (Richmond, Vt.), Maine Maritime junior Justin Kretzmer (Glastonbury, Conn.), New England College sophomore William Platt (San Francisco, Calif.), and Thomas senior Jasen Dickey (Skowhegan, Maine).
2017 NAC Men's Lacrosse All-Conference Teams
A - Jacob Blanchette, Freshman, New England College
A - Sean Largay, Senior, New England College
A - Matt Richard, Junior, New England College
M - Louis Alhage, Senior, Castleton
M - Daniel Medvetz, Sophomore, New England College
M - Ian Pelkey, Junior, Lyndon
LSM - Connor Fries, Sophomore, New England College
D - Hunter Coakley, Senior, New England College
D - Edward Doton, Junior, Castleton
D - Brandon Hunter, Sophomore, Lyndon*
GK - Connor Lamberton, Junior, Thomas
FO - Joshua Gosselin, Junior, Castleton
A - Spencer Aubin, Sophomore, Lyndon*
A - Zach Glazier, Sophomore, Husson
A - Sam Siegel, Junior, Castleton
M - Colby Blondin, Junior, Thomas
M - Shea Jones, Sophomore, Lyndon*
M - Chase Whittemore, Junior, Maine Maritime
LSM - Peyton Faasse, Sophomore, Castleton
D - Keenan Haase, Freshman, New England College
D - Tyler Haskell, Senior, Husson
D - Alex Lawson, Senior, Thomas
GK - Brandon Myron, Sophomore, Castleton
GK - Jay Palmisano, Senior, Johnson State
FO - Austin Frankel, Sophomore, New England College
Player of the Year
Matt Richard, Junior, New England College
Defensive Player of the Year
Connor Fries, Sophomore, New England College
Rookie of the Year
Jacob Blanchette, Freshman, New England College
Senior Scholar Athlete of the Year
Carl Diethelm, Senior, Green Mountain
Coach of the Year
Jedd Brown, Fourth Season, New England College
Jacob Boothby, Freshman, Husson
Jasen Dickey, Senior, Thomas
Carl Diethelm, Senior, Green Mountain
Joey Gagne, Senior, Castleton
Justin Kretzmer, Junior, Maine Maritime
William Platt, Sophomore, New England College
Tim Scanlon, Junior, Lyndon
Ethan Wehse, Freshman, Johnson State
*Award vacated by Lyndon State and the NCAA Committee on Infractions.