May 17, 2007
Notre Dame, Ind. -
The Notre Dame women's lacrosse team has announced it's major award winners for the 2007 season. In voting done by the players, senior midfielder Lena Zentgraf (Charlottesville, Va.) was selected as the team's Notre Dame Monogram Club Most Valuable Player. Fellow senior Kristin Hopson (Rosemont, Pa.) was awarded the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Scholar-Athlete Award winner and sophomore Mary Veith (Silver Spring, Md.) was chosen as the team's most improved player.
Zentgraf proved to be a key component of Notre Dame's attack in 2007 as she finished third in scoring for the year while setting career highs in goals (17), assists (22) and points (39) in her senior season. A second team all-BIG EAST selection in 2007, Zentgraf also was set career highs in ground balls (37), draw controls (31) and caused turnovers (27), finishing second in ground balls and draw controls while leading the team in caused turnovers.
"Lena did a phenomenal job leading her teammates on and off the field this season," said head coach Tracy Coyne. "She's a natural leader. The recognition she's being given by her teammates demonstrates the tremendous amount of respect they have for her leadership, as well as, her game. We're really going to miss Lena's intensity and toughness on the field next year. I've enjoyed working with her and am so pleased the team has chosen to give Lena this honor."
Hopson receives Notre Dame's Rockne Scholar-Athlete award with a 3.603 grade-point average and will graduate on Sunday, May 20 with a degree in Psychology. A three-time monogram winner, Hopson has been one of the team's defensive leaders in each of the last three seasons. A "big-play" defender, Hopson was known for her smart, intelligent play in front of the Irish goal. In her final season, she grabbed 19 ground balls, caused eight turnovers and had two draw controls. For her career, Hopson had 60 ground balls, caused 32 turnovers and had 13 draw controls. She also was selected to the 2006 IWLCA Academic Honor Roll.
"Kristin is very deserving of the Rockne Scholar-Athlete Award," said Coyne. "The honor always goes to a player who has significantly impacted the team's on-field success and has had an outstanding academic performance. Kristin has anchored the defensive unit over the past three years and is one of the most reliable players I have ever coached. You can count on her to show up and play her best in every game because she loves to compete. She has embraced all that we value here at Notre Dame. She gets it done both on the field and in the classroom."
Veith was named the team's Most Improved Player after switching from an attack player to goalkeeper due to a knee injury that she suffered in high school. A high school All-American in 2004 and 2005, Veith joined the Irish as a member of the highly touted 2006 freshman class but was not able to play as she continued her recovery from the knee surgery. A tremendous all-around athlete, Veith took up goalkeeping last winter to continue her playing career and developed quickly enough to become the team's back-up goalkeeper behind fellow sophomore Erin Goodman (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.). Her hard work, determination and courage to come back from the major injury were recognized by her teammates as they selected her as the team's most improved player.
"Mary's selection as our most improved player is a true testament not only to her athleticism but to her character and work ethic," said Coyne. "She overcame a tremendous amount of adversity by switching positions halfway through the year and attacked her new position as goalkeeper with the attitude and perseverance of a champion. She did a great job in the cage and did a great job helping us prepare for upcoming opponents. It is great that Mary is being recognized by her teammates for all of her hard work and dedication."
Coyne and her Irish women's lacrosse team finished the 2007 season with an 11-6 overall record and a 3-2 mark in the BIG EAST. They will embark on a postseason tour of England and Ireland from May 30 through June 10 that will see the team play exhibition games versus an English club team and the Irish National Team during the trip.