Tucker Named ODAC Field Hockey Player of the Year

Tucker Named ODAC Field Hockey Player of the Year

FOREST, Va. — The Old Dominion Athletic Conference released its field hockey all-conference honors on Tuesday, and Washington and Lee had five players, along with head coach Gina Wills, receive recognition.

Junior forward Haley Tucker (Manakin-Sabot, Va./St. Catherine's School) was named the ODAC Player of the Year and made the first team. She was joined on the first team by senior midfielder Maggie Sands (Glen Arm, Md./Notre Dame Prep). Sophomore forward Lauren Paolano (Huntington, N.Y./Cold Spring Harbor) and senior defender Lilly MacDonald (Bluemont, Va./Foxcroft School) garnered second-team laurels, and junior goalkeeper Ariyel Yavalar (Baltimore, Md./Garrison Forest School) received All-ODAC Third Team accolades.

Wills was named the ODAC Coach of the Year for the second time in three years. She led the team to the program's second ODAC title on Saturday, as the Generals defeated Lynchburg, 2-1, in overtime in the championship game. W&L has a 14-4 record this year, and the Blue and White has won 10 straight contests, which is the longest winning streak for the Generals since 2005. Wills has a 38-18 record in her first three seasons with W&L.

This is the third all-conference honor for Tucker and the first time she has made the first team. Tucker is third in the ODAC this year in goals (19) and points (43). The 19 goals tied the W&L single-season record. Maggie Waxter '17 tallied 19 goals in 2016 and Kelly Taffe '04 had 19 in 2003.

Tucker also leads the Blue and White this campaign with five assists. Her 43 points are the second-most in a single season in program history. On the W&L career lists, she has moved to fourth in career goals (37) and fourth in career points (87). Tucker is the third player in program history to be named the ODAC Player of the Year, joining Waxter in 2016 and Kendall Korte '08 in 2006 and 2007.

Sands has had her best season for the Blue and White this year. She has a career-best six goals along with two assists for 14 points. Her previous high in goals was three and points was six. She has also registered two game-winning tallies. Sands has started all 18 games this year. She previously garnered Second Team All-ODAC accolades three times.

Paolano is second on the team and fifth in the conference with 14 goals. The 14 tallies are tied for the ninth-most in a single season in W&L history. She also has two assists for 30 points. In her two seasons, she has registered 26 goals. The 26 goals are tied for the sixth-most on the W&L career list.

MacDonald has led the back line for the Generals all season, starting all 18 contests. She is a member of a defense that has held opponents to 1.70 goals per game, while registering three shutouts. MacDonald received Third Team All-ODAC laurels last season.

Yavalar has played all but 3:11 for the Generals this year. She has a 1.65 goals-against average, 86 saves, three shutouts and a .735 save percentage in 1312:26. The 86 saves are tied for the fifth-most in a single season in W&L history.

This season, Yavalar pushed her career saves total to 243, which is the third-most in program history. On other W&L career lists, she is second in shutouts (10), fourth in save percentage (.769) and second in goals-against average (1.45). This marks the second all-conference honor for Yavalar, as she made the second team in 2015. 

First-year forward Jackie Lerro of Lynchburg was named the Rookie of the Year and senior midfielder Elizabeth Pardo of Shenandoah earned the Virginia Farm Bureau Scholar-Athlete Award.

The Generals host Denison in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Wednesday at 3:00 pm.

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