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Assistant Coaches of the Year Named

By IWLCA Admin, 11/03/16, 11:00AM EDT


IWLCA Announces Assistant Coaches of the Year for 2016

The IWLCA announced the three Divisional honorees for the 2016 Assistant Coach of the Year Award. Cornell’s Suzie Friedrich, Florida Southern’s Marissa Higgins, and Middlebury’s Alice Lee have been selected as the Division I, II, and III recipients of the award and will be recognized at the IWLCA Honors Banquet on November 17 at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. The Assistant Coach of the Year award recognizes an assistant coach from each Division who has made a distinct impact on the success of their program through hard work, commitment, dedication, and sportsmanship.

All three honorees will be recognized at the IWLCA Honors Banquet held at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort on November 17 in conjunction with the Association's Annual Meetings.

Friedrich served as an assistant coach at Cornell University for eight years before stepping down after the 2016 season. The Big Red captured the 2016 Ivy League Tournament title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament. Friedrich coached the defense and added goalkeeper training in her last year Cornell. The Big Red’s defensive unit held opponents to 7.32 goals per game last year. Cornell posted a 14-5 record in 2016, highlighted by placing five players on the All-Ivy teams, and dramatic wins over the #13 ranked Princeton and the #12 ranked Penn teams in the Ivy Tournament. According to Cornell head coach Jenny Graap, “Cornell Women’s lacrosse was so fortunate to have an experienced and talented coach in Suzie Friedrich for eight years. I cherished having a friend, a trusted colleague and a loyal assistant by my side for so long. Coaching is an emotional job and Suzie gave her heart, literally, to our Big Red program.” Friedrich battled serious health concerns during her last few years in Ithaca, after she was diagnosed with Cardiac Sarcoidosis. “We couldn’t have reached the level of success we did in the spring of 2016 without the example Suzie set every day in overcoming challenges to follow your dreams,” explained Graap.

Higgins served Florida Southern College as a volunteer assistant coach and helped lead the Mocs to the Division II National Championship. She worked mainly with the goalkeepers, and head coach Kara Reber cites Higgins work with her two goalkeepers as a key factor in winning the Sunshine State Conference Championship and the NCAA title. “Without Marissa, there is no way our team wins the National Championship,” Reber said in nominating her assistant. Florida Southern’s starting goalkeeper was named Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Championship, and the back-up goalkeeper relived the starter in the conference championship game, leading the team to victory. “Marissa lives over an hour away and during her day off from her full-time job, she would drive to campus to work with our goalies,” Reber said. “She was able to coach them to perform at their highest level and both goalies made tremendous contributions in our wins during our conference championship and the NCAA championship.”

Lee was the assistant coach for Middlebury College in 2016, and the Panthers went 22-1 en route to capturing the Division III National Championship led by Most Outstanding Player, goalkeeper Katie Mandigo, who thrived under Lee’s tutelage. “Alice has an enthusiasm for lacrosse that is unmatched. Her passion and energy for the game create a uniquely positive and inspiring environment for her players,” said Middlebury head coach Kate Livesay. “She is devoted to her team, and willing to do the big and small tasks that help a program run smoothly. Her selflessness and her commitment to Middlebury Lacrosse have made a huge impact on our team and our program.”

All three honorees will be recognized at the IWLCA Honors Banquet held at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort on November 17 in conjunction with the Association's Annual Meetings.