Helmke Leads UAlbany's America East All-Conference Honors
LOWELL, Mass.—The UAlbany field hockey team picked up two America East major awards and three East Division All-Conference honors at this year’s America East Field Hockey awards ceremony in UMass Lowell.
Frederike Helmke was honored as the America East Defender of the Year and the Great Dane’s coaching staff, Phil Sykes, Andy Thornton, and Amy Nicklin were honored as the conference’s Coaching Staff of the Year.
Helmke, Dana Bozek, and Melissa Nealon were named to the East Division All-Conference team. Additionally, freshmen Katie MacCallum and Rachel Shannauer earned a spot on the All-Rookie squad, while Anna Bottino and Nealon were awarded All-Academic Team honors. These awards were voted on by the league’s nine head coaches.
Helmke was named the America East Defender of the Year, the first major award of her career. The junior has started all 17 games on the UAlbany backline recording five goals this season. Helmke is the Great Danes’ captain and is a key piece of the UAlbany penalty corner unit.
Sykes, Thornton, and Nicklin were honored as the Coaching Staff of the year for the second year in a row. This is head coach Phil Sykes and associate head coach Andy Thornton’s fifth all-time honor. Nicklin joined the squad this season as an assistant coach after playing for the team from 2011-2014. The Great Danes are #21 in the NFHCA rankings and earned a share of the America East East Division regular season title with a 6-2 conference record.
ALL-CONFERENCE EAST DIVISION
Helmke was honored for the second time as an America East East Division All-Conference selection. Helmke’s first selection was in 2016 during her sophomore season.
Nealon earns her spot on the All-Conference Team as the only goalkeeper selected from the East Division. This is Nealon’s first America East award. The redshirt sophomore holds a .764 save percentage leading UAlbany to a second-best goals against per game of 1.53. Nealon fought off 22 out of 26 shots in a 1-1 weekend against UNC and Delaware, awarding her the America East Defensive Player of the Week (9/26).
Sophomore, Dana Bozek, picked up her first All-Conference selection for her performance in the midfield. This season Bozek has been a crucial piece of executing penalty corners with her forceful shots. Bozek is second on the team with 21 points and seven goals this season. Last year, Bozek was awarded a spot on the All-Rookie Team.
MacCallum claimed a spot on the All-Rookie Team leading UAlbany with 24 points. The freshman from Edinburgh, Scotland also leads the team with 10 goals, along with teammate Ghislaine Beerkens. MacCallum was named the America East Rookie fo the Week (9/19) for her goal and assist in the 4-0 win against New Hampshire.
Schannauer, a freshman from Whitehall, Pa, is an essential defender for UAlbany starting all 17 games this season. Schannauer recorded one of the two defensive saves UAlbany had this season. The freshman was a part of the Great Dane defense that allowed just 26 goals this season, second best in the conference.
Bottino picks up her first All-Academic team honor. The senior from Clifton Park, NY is a two-time NFHCA National Academic Squad member majoring in psychology with a 3.67 GPA. Bottino has started all 17 games this season recording three points.
Nealon was awarded a spot on the All-Academic squad with a 3.82 GPA in human biology. Nealon is recognized as a two-time NFHCA National Academic Squad member and a two-time NFHCA Scholar of Distinction.
UALBANY AMERICA EAST HONORS
Defender of the Year- Frederike Helmke
Coaching Staff of the Year- UAlbany (Phil Sykes, Andy Thornton, Amy Nicklin)
East Division All-Conference
The America East Tournament quarterfinals will kick off tomorrow in UMass Lowell. The Great Danes will face UC Davis at 1:00 p.m.