March 23, 2010
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State field hockey program held its annual postseason awards banquet on March 21 to celebrate the 2009 season and hand out team awards.
"Every year the banquet is great because it reflects on the previous playing season that the team had," said head coach Rolf van de Kerkhof. "We were fortunate this year to have something special as part of the event as we won the Big Ten and were able to hand out rings to the players, staff and support staff."
The banquet started out with a brunch buffet and photo slide show which was generously provided through the hard work of Mr. Rick Huck. Following the meal, freshman goalkeeper Molly Cassidy gave an insightful and humorous recap of the season through the eyes of a freshman player.
Van de Kerkhof and assistant coaches Helen Knull and Molly Maloney then took the stage to hand out academic awards and Big Ten and All-American accolades that members of the team had earned throughout the season. In total, 41 different individual awards were handed out to 12 different members of the MSU program at the banquet.
"The recipients of those awards really competed and earned those awards through hard work, being team players and being able to step when they had to," said Van de Kerkhof. "The future looks bright and hopefully players who weren't recipients of awards yet may find the extra desire to compete for those awards in the long run."
Following the presentations of national and conference awards, the Spartans handed out awards that were voted on by members of the team. Several players took home awards for the second consecutive season including: senior Jeamie Deacon as Most Valuable Player; classmate Floor Rijpma as Offensive Player of the Year, redshirt junior Joelle van Ierland for Defensive Player of the Year and Chelsy Coil for the Spirit Award. In addition to the repeat winners, freshman Adelle Lever was voted Newcomer of the Year, junior Julie Mackay was named most improved player and senior student assistant coach and manager Molly Ryser was voted the recipient of the Unsung Hero Award.
After the team awards were all handed out, Van Ierland and fellow redshirt junior Meghan Magee
took to the stage for a lighthearted and friendly roast of the four seniors; Deacon, Rijpma, Ryser and Elissa Unger
. After a few laughs were had at the seniors' expense, the four seniors took the stage and gave speeches of their own. In each of their heartfelt speeches, the seniors thanked their coaches, training staff, families and fellow players for all the help they received throughout their years at MSU. The seniors additionally reflected upon fond memories of their times with the Spartan family and gave some words of wisdom to the players who are returning for the 2010 season.
After the speeches were done, Van de Kerkhof, Knull and Maloney again took the stage to present the members of the team and staff with their 2009 Big Ten Championship rings. The atmosphere was electric as players got to see their championship rings for the first time. Screams went up and some players even dropped their rings due to all of the excitement in the room. Finally after all the commotion had ceased, all of the players and staff gathered for a team photo to show off their championship rings.
Michigan State finished the season with an 18-4 record, tying for the second most victories in a single season. The Spartans also won the Big Ten Regular Season and Tournament titles, becoming only the second school in Big Ten history to finish regular season and tournament play unbeaten. The Green and White also advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive season and seventh time in school history. The Spartans dropped Delaware 7-0 in their Tournament opener before falling to No. 2 Virginia, 3-2 in overtime.
2009 Season Spartan Award Recipients
Most Vaulable Player: Jeamie Deacon
Deacon, a NFHCA West Region First Team selection, was also a force for the Spartans offense scoring 11 goals and adding six assists despite missing several games due to injuries. The First Team All-Big Ten selection finishes her Spartan career ranked seventh all-time in points (95) and goals (35) despite only competing for three seasons.
Van de Kerkhof on Deacon being named MVP:
"Recruiting Jeamie we knew had an impact player from the get go. Jeamie came to town and she became that impact player. She not only was a great player herself but she allowed other players to become better. She also served as a coach on the field during games and that's what a coaching staff always is looking for. Aside from her off field involvement, she was always willing and interested in talking hockey with the coaching staff so we could be a better team."
Offensive Player of the Year: Floor Rijpma
Rijpma, the NFHCA West Region Player of the Year, was the offensive leader for the Spartans in 2009 leading the team with 52 points on a team-leading 24 goals and four assists. The unanimous Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Big Ten selection finished Big Ten regular season play as the conferences' leading goal scorer (10) and point getter (20) for the second consecutive season. Additionally, Rijpma recorded four hat tricks on the season (vs. American, vs. Northwestern, at Penn State and vs. Delaware) and added a team-leading eight game-winning goals. The four hat tricks are the second most in a single season in program history. Rijpma finishes her Spartan career as one of the most prolific scorers in program history ranking third all-time in points (138) and goals (60) at MSU.
Van de Kerkhof on Rijpma being named Offensive Player of the Year:
"We knew Floor could score goals but I think this season she showed a great ability to score goals when it needed to be done. A lot of the goals that she scored during her senior year were game-winners that put us in position to compete for championships. It was great to see Floor develop over the years not only as a player and an athlete but as a person overall. She was a true recipient of this award."
Defensive Player of the Year: Joelle van Ierland
About van Ierland:
Van Ierland was an anchor for the Spartans lockdown defense playing in and starting all 22 games. Van Ierland finished the season with 10 points on a goal and eight assists and led the team with four defensive saves.
Van de Kerkhof on van Ierland being named Defensive Player of the Year:
"In the back you need a lock on the door and in front of a great goalie you need a few players on your defensive line that can help the whole system to work. Joelle continues to show over and over that she is a very solid backfield player. She can direct other players but is also very strong one on one defensively. It's good to see that she has grown into her role and we are very excited to have her back for another season."
Rookie of the Year: Adelle Lever
Lever, the Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the week of Oct. 19th, finished her first season in the Green and White with eight points on four goals. Lever, the only freshman to start and play in all 22 games, also recorded a key defensive save in the Spartans' NCAA Quarterfinal matchup with Virginia.
Van de Kerkhof on Lever being named Rookie of the Year:
"Adelle was recruited knowing that she could make an impact and she didn't disappoint anybody. It was great to see that she was able to step up. She had to grow up quickly and I think she grew up quickly. She was always an opportunistic player, she was not afraid to go out onto the field and improve. She was also very deserving of her award."
Most Improved Player: Julie Mackay
Mackay saw her scoring numbers skyrocket in 2009 as she scored her first three career goals and added two assists. In addition to her impressive scoring output, Mackay served as a key player off the Spartans bench who would come in to provide lockdown defense in the midfield to help close out games for the Green and White.
Van de Kerkhof on Mackay being named Most Improved Player:
"Julie was in a situation where she had to make a position change, like a lot of players do from time to time. She really took on that challenge and made additional commitment to all areas of her game and because of that she doubled her playing time if not quadrupled it. She became an influential person in our offensive set up by allowing others to be in the position to score. She was also one of the players who could be part of the press to intercept the ball and get the attack started again. It's great to see if you put your heart into it and commit to it that you can change games and become a much improved player."
Spirit Award: Chelsy Coil
Despite seeing action in only four games, Coil was voted Spirit Award winner for the second consecutive season. Coil's friendly and upbeat attitude and energy that she brought during games and practices rubbed off on her teammates and led to her repeat selection.
Van de Kerkhof on Coil being named the Spirit Award recipient:
"There are a lot of things that programs look for and having spirit as part of your program is one of them. Chelsy helped in many different ways, day in and day out, to keep up the team's spirits and hopes with her demeanor, involvement and personality. It was important for her to do those things to keep everybody upbeat and ready to face the next challenge."
Unsung Hero Award: Molly Ryser
Ryser, a two-year player for MSU, was forced to retire from playing field hockey due to injury. After consulting with Coach van de Kerkhof and her family, Ryser decided to stay on with the field hockey program as a student assistant coach and team manger where she helped handle and breakdown game film for the players and staff. In her two seasons competing for the Green and White, Ryser played in six games and earned Big Ten and NFHCA Academic honors.
Van de Kerkhof on Ryser being named the Unsung Hero Award recipient:
"Every year you have success stories and I think that Molly has been one of those success stories even though the stats are not speaking in her advantage. After two years in which she really worked hard and was coming along nicely as a student-athlete, a career ending injury limited her ability to play hockey for the Spartans but then it was great to see her become more involved as a student coach . She really committed tons of hours in her last years in that role to help put the program in a better position to be successful. She is a great story and I think if she looks at the bigger picture she will see that all of her hard work paid off for sure."