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IWLCA Players of the Week – April 26, 2022

By IWLCA Admin, 04/26/22, 2:30PM EDT


IWLCA Players of the Week – April 26, 2022


The IWLCA has chosen nine student-athletes for the IWLCA Player of the Week awards for the week ending April 24, 2022. This weekly award recognizes the best offensive and defensive performances by players in Division I, II, III, and the NAIA each week during the regular season.

Division I

Offensive Player of the Week  

Belle Smith – Boston College 

Smith turned in a stellar performance in the 15-13 win over No. 4 Syracuse. In a rematch of last season's national championship game, Smith tied her career-high with a game-best five goals against the Orange, while also tying a team-best with two ground balls and a caused turnover. Smith has now recorded three five-score games this season. Boston climbed to a No. 2 ranking in the latest ILWomen/IWLCA Division I Poll and heads into postseason play with a quarterfinal matchup against No. 7 Virginia Tech this Friday.  

Co-Defensive Player of the Week

Hayley Hunt – Lehigh University

Over a two-game span, Hunt stopped 30-of-40 shots sent her way, resulting in two wins for the Mountain Hawks. She posted 11 saves in a 16-6 win over Lafayette and followed with a career-high 19 saves in a 12-4 win over Holy Cross, the most by a Lehigh goalie since February 2019. The 19 stops is tied for the tenth most saves in NCAA Division I women's lacrosse this season. Hunt’s performance earned her Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week as well. The Mountain Hawks will face Colgate in their final regular season game this Thursday.

Co-Defensive Player of the Week  

Emily Sterling – University of Maryland 

Sterling had a career day in goal to lead No. 8 Maryland past No. 2 Northwestern to clinch the Big Ten regular season title. She tallied a career-high 16 saves with only nine goals allowed, a .640 save percentage. Sterling assisted in holding an offense that was averaging 17 goals per game to just nine in the matchup. The junior goalie helped hold Northwestern to a .236 shooting percentage and now has a .564 save percentage on the season. Sterling’s save percentage is currently the best in the country and she has a .632 save percentage in Big Ten play. In this week’s ILWomen/IWLCA Division I Poll, Maryland jumped to a No. 4 ranking and will close out the regular season against No. 21 Michigan this Saturday.  

Division II

Offensive Player of the Week  

Lydia Rudden – Stonehill College  

Rudden racked up a team-high 17 points with five goals and a team-leading 12 assists in a 2-0 week for the No. 14 Skyhawks. The junior registered three ground balls, two caused turnovers, and a draw control for the week and converted one of two free-position shots. Rudden totaled a team-high eight points with a goal, one draw control, and game-high seven assists in a 14-13 overtime win over No. 2 Adelphi. She recorded nine points (four goals, five assists) in the 20-6 win over Southern Connecticut and added three ground balls and two caused turnovers as well. Stonehill improved to 12-2 on the season and is now ranked No. 9 in the latest ILWomen/IWLCA Division II Poll.  

Defensive Player of the Week  

Gabby Buscemi – University of New Haven  

Buscemi put up double-figure saves in back-to-back games to lead No. 23 New Haven to a pair of wins over two ranked opponents. She opened the week with 10 saves as the Chargers took the win over No. 18 Assumption, 16-15. She followed that up by matching her previous career-high of 18 for the second time this season in the 10-6 win over No. 20 Saint Anselm. For the season, Buscemi has recorded double-figure saves in 10 games and leads all NE10 keepers with 170 total saves, nearly 50 more than the next closest keeper. New Haven is ranked No. 22 in the latest ILWomen/IWLCA Division II Poll and has two regular-season matchups remaining.  

Division III

Offensive Player of the Week  

Olivia Lai – Wesleyan University 

Lai posted a career-high five goals and one assist for six points, matching her single-game career-high, in a pair of wins this week for No. 11 Wesleyan. She recorded five goals (two on free position shots) and one assist as the Cardinals defeated No. 13 Hamilton, 18-8. Lai followed that up with another five goals and one assist (six points) in an identical 18-8 win over Williams, helping the Cardinals clinch the Little Three title for the third time in the past four contested seasons. Lai also hit a big milestone in Saturday's win as her fifth goal marked her 50th goal of the season, becoming just the third Cardinal in program history to hit the 50-goal mark in a single season. The 11-3 Cardinals will close out the regular season with a matchup against Connecticut College this Wednesday.  

Defensive Player of the Week  

Molly Laliberty – Tufts University 

Laliberty recorded an .826 save percentage and 3.40 goals-against average in two wins for No. 9 Tufts last week. In the 21-4 NESCAC victory against No. 13 Hamilton, she saved 18 of the 22 shots on goal that she faced for a .818 save percentage. Earlier in the week, she contributed 10 minutes of play in the 22-0 shutout win against Emmanuel. Tufts is now 11-3 overall and have one regular-season matchup remaining.  


Offensive Player of the Week 

Madison Andrews – Keiser University  

Andrews had a strong tournament performance this past week as she led the No. 5 Seahawks to an MSC title. Andrews’ stat line included 14 goals, two assists, 14 draw controls, five ground balls, and two caused turnovers over three contests, including a seven-goal game against No. 2 Cumberlands in the championship game. Her final goal of the week served as the game-winner in overtime to defeat the Patriots.  

Defensive Player of the Week  

Marissa Cirino – Siena Heights University 

Cirino was a key player in Siena Heights’ run for a WHAC title. In the 24-14 semifinal win over Aquinas, Cirino registered five goals and 12 draw controls. In the conference final against No. 1 Lawrence Tech, she added five caused turnovers, eight draw controls, and two points.