Starsia Announces Cavalier Lacrosse Awards for 2002
July 1, 2002
Charlottesville, Va. – Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year Mark Koontz and three-time All-American Conor Gill shared the Dr. Allen Voshell Award as team’s most valuable players for the 2002 season as University of Virginia men’s lacrosse coach Dom Starsia announced the team’s award winners today.
Koontz, like Gill a three-time All-American, became the first defenseman to win the ACC’s highest honor in 10 years. The Columbus, Ohio, native was also recognized for his efforts in the classroom by being named a USILA Scholar All-American following the season. He played this season with a cast to protect a wrist broken during offseason conditioning, and saw his season come to a premature end following a knee injury that required surgery prior to the NCAA Tournament.
Gill led the ACC in scoring (3.73 ppg) and assists (42) for the third year in a row this season as he guided the Cavaliers to the final four for the third time in his career. He finished second in ACC history with 146 assists and seventh in career points (223). Gill set an NCAA Tournament record with nine assists in the Cavaliers’ 11-10 win over Cornell in the quarterfinals.
Senior midfielder Eric Leibowitz received the Harry Gaver Award for leadership. One of the team’s hardest workers, he was voted a team captain by his teammates in recognition of his efforts. He saw the most extensive action of his career this season and scored a career-best three goals.
Defenseman Ryan Myerberg won the Lawrie Riggs Award for committment and citizenship. The senior from Old Greenwich, Conn., was widely respected by his teammates for doing the little things that contributed to the team’s success and pushing each player during practice and game preparation.
Senior midfielder Nick Russo received the Tom Rixey Award for spirit and inspiration. He turned in the best season of his career with four goals and four assists while playing a valuable role on both offense and defense. He was named ACC Player of the Week for his play in UVa’s win over Duke on April 13.
Junior defenseman Ned Bowen was named the team’s most improved player. He missed fall ball while playing football, but worked his way into the starting line-up midway through the season and remained there. He picked up his play following the season-ending injury to All-American defenseman Mark Koontz and finished the season with a career-high 30 ground balls.
Junior Chris Rotelli was named the team’s offensive MVP. One of the top midfielders in the country, Rotelli was Virginia’s lone first-team All-American this season. He scored 24 goals and added a career-high 10 assists and had a goal or an assist in every game but one. Rotelli finished eighth in the ACC in goals and 12th in scoring this season.
Sophomore goalie Tillman Johnson received the team’s defensive MVP award. The All-ACC netminder started every game for the second year in a row and recorded 173 saves, the most by a Cavalier goalie in six years. He alllowed an average of 8.97 goals per game, while posting a 56.9 save percentage. His 325 caeer saves are already 12th in school history.
The “Class of ’99 Unsung Hero Award” was presented to long stick midfielder Trey Whitty. A junior from Lutherville, Md., Whitty proved to be one of the most dynamic long stick middies in the nation. He led the team with 77 ground balls, the most by a Virginia long stickman in eight years. He was also a threat on offense with three goals and five assists this season.
Sophomore defenseman Kevin McGrath was awarded the E. Doyle Smith Award for compiling the highest GPA (3.7) on the team. This is the second year in a row the civil engineering major from Woodstock, Md., has received the award.
“This past season was one of the most memorable of recent years,” said Starsia. “A young Virginia team worked hard, overcame some key injuries and played in one of the most exciting semifinal games in NCAA Tournament history. The double overtime loss to Syracuse did not diminish the effort and leadership of some key players. It is our honor to recognize the quality of those efforts with this announcement today.”