WASHINGTON - The Georgetown University women's lacrosse program held its annual banquet on Saturday at the Georgetown Conference Center. The banquet honored the 2017 Hoyas for their accomplishments to this point. The eight team awards were announced and the squad's achievements were recognized.
Sophomore midfielder Francesca Whitehurst (Baltimore, Md./Roland Park Country School) was named the 2017 Most Valuable Player. She also earned the team’s Star Award given to the player to earn the most stars throughout the season. Stars were given following each game by meeting statistical goals.
Whitehurst leads the squad in scoring with 47 points on 28 goals and a squad-best 19 assists. She ranks ninth in the league in assists per game with 1.19 apg. Whitehurst has a team-high 64 draw controls to rank sixth on GU’s all-time season list and 83 in her career to sit at 17th all-time. She also has 14 caused turnovers and is 8-for-12 on free position shots.
The midfielder has been a two-time BIG EAST Midfielder of the Week selection this season and also named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll on two occasions.
The Red Star Award given to the player that best prepared the team for that week's opponent went to freshman Micheline DiNardo (Rye, N.Y./Rye). The goalkeeper has seen action in one game this season but is respected for her efforts in practice by her coaches and teammates.
The Sheehan Stanwick Rookie of the Year award went to freshman attacker Michaela Bruno (Garden City, N.Y./Garden City). Bruno has 11 goals and five assists for 16 points on the year despite missing the first four games with an illness. She has appeared in 12 games with seven starts and has had multiple goals in three.
Senior defender Candace Pallitto (Chatham, N.J./Villa Walsh Academy) was given the Denis Kanach Hoya Award which recognizes the unsung hero who best demonstrates unselfish play and true team spirit. Pallitto has started all 16 games in the back for the Blue & Gray. She has 18 ground balls and nine caused turnovers on the year along with three draw controls to her credit.
Sophomore defender Megan Massimino (Villanova, Pa./Radnor) was named the Most Improved Player. Massimino has started all 16 games on defense and has tallied seven caused turnovers along with nine ground balls.
Junior attacker and captain Sarah Cheney (Loudonville, N.Y./Shaker) was the winner of the Kim Simons Coaches' Award for the player that best demonstrates the qualities of coachability, positive attitude and leadership.
Cheney has appeared in 10 games with five starts this season. She has three goals and one assist for four points on the year to go along with one ground ball and one caused turnover.
The Bulldog Award, given to a player that displayed outstanding effort and contributions to the squad, was awarded to senior defender and captain Jenny Schwalje (Setauket, N.Y./St. Anthony’s).
Schwalje has been a spark in the Hoya backline starting all 16 games for the Blue & Gray. She leads the team in caused turnovers with 20, and has 28 ground balls to rank second on the squad. The senior also has 17 draw controls on the season. She earned a spot on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll on March 21.
The coaching staff also chooses to recognize a person that has made a significant impact on the squad. This year, Volunteer Assistant Coach Kate Goldstein received the honor. Goldstein has been with the program for three seasons and works primarily with the goalkeepers. She is a huge asset to the coaching staff giving her time to help in all aspects of the program when needed.
The event concluded with a tribute to the graduates and remarks from the juniors and seniors.
The Hoyas are 9-7 on the year with one game remaining in the regular season. The squad has already solidified a BIG EAST Championship berth for the 11th-consecutive year making GU the only school in the conference to qualify for the tournament every year of its existence.
Georgetown will close out the regular season on Saturday as the squad travels to Gainesville, Fla., to battle the No. 2/2 University of Florida Gators at 1 p.m. Live stats and a webstream will be available at www.GUHoyas.com.