Erika Smith Named MASCAC Coach of the Year
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- The Bridgewater State College field hockey team had six players named to the MASCAC All-Conference Team and four to the Little East Conference All-Star Team in all-conference voting conducted by the respective conference coaches.
Second-year head coach, Erika Smith, captured MASCAC Coach of the Year honors as she directed her squad to a 16-6 season as well as the ECAC Division III New England Tournament championship. The 16 victories marked the highest win total in the history of the program surpassing the previous record of 14 wins set in 1979.
Senior forward Ashley Panzini (Saugus, MA) and sophomore defender Kelly Downs (Hanover, MA) were named to both the Little East and the MASCAC All-Conference First Teams.
Panzini led the team and set career highs in goals this season with 13 and in points with 33. She also led the team in assists and wraps up an outstanding four-year career at BSC with 25 goals (8 game-winners), 18 assists and 68 points. During Panzini's career the field hockey program made remarkable strides, going from a 1-15 season during her freshman year in 2004 all the way to a 16-win season and an ECAC title in 2007.
In two seasons, the sophomore Downs has blossomed into one of the top defenders in both the Little East and the MASCAC. She registered 6 defensive saves this season to go along with 3 goals and 2 assists.
Freshman forward Bethany Bush (Littleton, MA) and senior midfielder Courtney Sergio (West Bridgewater, MA) also made appearances on both all-conference teams.
Bush was named to the All-MASCAC First Team and earned Second Team Little East honors in just her first season of intercollegiate athletics. She tallied 12 goals to go along with 4 assists for a total of 28 points. Twice this season Bush record natural hat tricks, accomplishing the feat in BSC's 4-2 win over Salve and again in the Bears' 3-2 win over the University of New England.
Sergio, who was a Second Team selection on both the MASCAC and Little East All-Conference teams, tallied 5 assists from her midfield position this season. The senior competed three seasons at BSC with a goal and 7 assists to her credit.
Senior forward Katie Balboni (Townsend, MA) and senior defender Robin Serino (Forestdale, MA) also made their way on to the All-MASCAC second Team.
Balboni registered 10 goals and 4 assists on the season for a total of 24 points. She wrapped up her outstanding three-year career at Bridgewater State by netting the game-winning goal in the Bears' 1-0 ECAC championship game win over St. Joseph's College. Balboni finishes her career with 18 goals, 7 assists and 43 points.
Serino started all 22 games from her defensive position as she helped the Bears post a solid 1.32 goals against average along with 6 shutouts. BSC was not scored on in the three games of the ECAC Tournament thanks in large part to the outstanding play of the Bears' defensive unit featuring Downs and Serino.
Downs, Bush, Sergio and Serino were all making their first appearance on either of the all-conference teams. Balboni was a Second Team All-MASCAC selection in 2006, while Panzini earned Little East and MASCAC all-conference honors last season as well as All-MASCAC as a freshman in 2004.