Nine players in her league scored more goals than Norwich University senior lacrosse midfielder Grace Fitzpatrick.
Fifteen players in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference collected more total points than the Falmouth resident and former three-sport star at Cheverus.
But it was Fitzpatrick who was named GNAC Player of the Year.
“I think the postseason recognition shows what an overall player Grace is and how important she is to our team,” Norwich Coach Beth Van Parys said. “She definitely is a true competitor and wants to beat everybody and play as hard as she can. She showed that right away as a freshman, and it stayed that way all four years.”
Fitzpatrick was the league Rookie of the Year in 2011. She said she did not expect to get a book-end postseason honor.
“This year I did well, but when it comes to stats it wasn’t as strong as previous years. I thought (Player of the Year) would be someone else,” Fitzpatrick said. “It was a great way to end my four years and my career, to be recognized that way.”
Fitzpatrick, who started every game the past four seasons, led Norwich in six statistical categories: goals (43), assists (8), points (51), draw controls (42), ground balls (62) and caused turnovers (43).
The first three categories speak to Fitzpatrick’s skill in the offensive end. She ends her career second on the Norwich all-time charts in goals (202) and points (240).
The latter three showed she was a true two-way midfielder with tenacity. She is Norwich’s all-time leader in draw controls and caused turnovers.
Fitzpatrick was also selected as Norwich’s Female Athlete of the Year and was recognized as one of 43 senior student-athletes at Norwich to earn a GPA of 3.25 or higher.
Fitzpatrick said her attitude is that the ball belongs to her. If someone else has it, she’ll do what it takes to get the ball back.
“I don’t think other teams like me that much, and I don’t blame them because I wouldn’t like me either,” she said with a laugh.
Chances are the GNAC coaching fraternity is just glad to not see “Fitzpatrick” on the Norwich roster anymore. Older sister Mollie was a standout in both hockey and lacrosse at Norwich, graduating in 2012. The sisters helped Norwich win GNAC lacrosse championships in 2011 and 2012, including an NCAA appearance in Grace’s freshman season.
This season the Cadets lost in the league semifinals to St. Joseph’s, 7-5, in a game played at Deering High’s Memorial Field. Norwich led 5-2 early in the second half. Fitzpatrick scored twice in the opening minute of the second half, but the Cadets couldn’t sustain their comeback.
“I’m not going to lie, part of me was thinking ‘we’ve got this’ and all of a sudden the table turned, a couple calls went against us, and St. Joe’s capitalized on that,” Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick will be graduating this month after majoring in construction engineering management. She said she wants to be a project manager for a large company, working on construction sites.
“I’m the only female in my class to have chosen this major,” Fitzpatrick said. “I kind of have to make a statement and make my voice be heard. There aren’t that many females in my field, but that’s another challenge I’ll have to overcome.”
“The competitiveness that Grace shows in lacrosse goes through the rest of her life, in the classroom and being prepared to go into the work force,” Van Parys said.
GUILFORD COLLEGE senior Lily Colley of Wells set a school scoring record and came up one point shy of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference single-season scoring record.
With three goals and an assist Saturday in a 9-6 ODAC championship game loss to Washington and Lee, Colley finished with 73 goals and 60 assists for 133 points. The previous Guilford record was 114 points.
Colley and her twin sister, Becca, helped Guilford post a 12-7 record. Becca scored 38 goals with 12 assists. Guilford missed out on an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III championships.
LED BY SENIOR Cassie Diplock (71 goals) of Augusta, St. Joseph’s had its best season in the seven-year history of women’s lacrosse. After beating Norwich, St. Joseph’s lost in the Great Northeast Atlantic Conference championship game to Emmanuel, 17-7.
Senior attack Krystal Walsh of Springvale (Sanford) had 13 goals and nine assists, and sophomore attack Mary Leasure of South Portland (McAuley) finished with 14 goals and six assists. Senior goalie Haley Nason of Saco (Thornton Academy) started 11 of the team’s 20 games, with a 4-4 record and a 12.49 goals-against average. Sophomore midfielder Mariyah Heath of Wells appeared in 10 games, with two goals and an assist.
ST. MICHAEL’S FRESHMAN Billy Farrell of Portland scored his first career goal in an 18-6 loss to Le Moyne in the final game of the season.
NORWICH SENIOR reserve linebacker James Cejka of Brunswick was named the school’s Male Scholar Athlete Award winner after posting a 3.93 GPA to lead all senior male athletes.
SWIMMING AND DIVING
ST. MICHAEL’S JUNIOR Nathan Paluso, a distance freestyler from Windham, was recognized as his team’s Coaches Award winner at the school’s Block ‘M’ Awards Dinner last week.
BENTLEY SOPHOMORE Malcom Oliver of Damariscotta (Lincoln Academy) is third on the Falcons’ scoring average chart with a 77.6 average for 18 holes. Bentley earned an at-large berth for the NCAA East/Atlantic Golf regional, which started Sunday in Charleston, West Virginia. Bentley has earned an NCAA bid four straight seasons and nine of the last 13.
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at: