Six field hockey players earn All-ODAC honors

Cutout images of Lynchburg's four first-team all-conference players on white background. Text in red and black: First-team all-ODAC. Lynchburg and adidas logos at bottom.

Forest, Va. -- Six University of Lynchburg field hockey players earned All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference accolades, the conference announced Tuesday.

The ODAC-champion Hornets saw four of those players on the first team, highlighted by a second-career ODAC player of the year honor for senior forward Nikki Simpao (Stafford, Va.) and an 11th-career conference coach of the year award for head coach Enza Steele.

Sophomore defender Alexis Brown (Culpeper, Va.), senior midfielder Kayla Copeman (Williamsburg, Va.), and sophomore forward Jackie Lerro (Royersford, Pa.) all joined Simpao on the all-conference first team. It's the first time one program has seen four players earn first-team honors since Eastern Mennonite placed four on the top squad in 2007.

Senior forward Isabella Eldridge (Mount Pleasant, S.C.) and sophomore midfielder Emma Strouse (Dillsburg, Pa.) earned third-team All-ODAC honors as well.

Lynchburg has placed at least six players on the all-conference teams each of the past three seasons. Simpao and Copeman are the program's sixth and seventh players to earn All-ODAC honors four times.

The Hornets rolled through their conference schedule in 2018, going 8-0 in the regular season and outscoring opponents 37-6 in those contests. Lynchburg captured its 19th conference championship last weekend with wins over Roanoke and Shanendoah to earn the ODAC's automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division III tournament.

RELATED: Lynchburg field hockey to play host in Wednesday's NCAA first round

Simpao becomes the fourth Hornet to earn multiple ODAC player of the year awards; she was also the league's top player as a freshman in 2015. She leads the conference in goals (22), assists (21), points (65), and shots (151) and set a program and conference single-game record with six assists in the ODAC championship. Simpao also set the program's single-season and career assists records this season, and she currently ranks third all-time in points with 220.

Brown, a third-team all-conference midfielder as a freshman, anchored a Hornet defense that has allowed just 26 goals in 20 games this season. She's also notched a goal and an assist.

Copeman hops up to first-team distinction after two second-team accolades and a third-team honor over her career. Moving to midfield from forward as a senior, she still ranked fifth in the conference with eight assists and also chipped in seven goals while playing a key role in one of the top defensive units in the country.

Last year's rookie of the year, Lerro repeats as a first-team honoree following a tremendous sophomore season. Her 19 goals and 49 assists rank second in the league, and 11 assists put her third on the league leaderboard.

Eldridge, a first-time All-ODAC player, stepped up this season to the tune of 12 goals and a career-high three assists despite missing time due to injury. She ranks sixth in the conference in scoring.

Strouse also earned all-league honors for the first time this season at the holding midfield position, where she scored one goal and played a pivotal part in the Hornet defense.

Steele's 11th coach of the year award comes in her 40th season at the helm of the Lynchburg program. Heading into NCAA tournament play, her 583 victories rank sixth among NCAA field hockey coaches across all divisions and fourth in Division III. Her Hornets sport a 15-5 record this season.

Shenandoah claimed the other half of the league's superlatives, as senior defender Morgan Payne took the ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Scholar-Athlete award and SU midfielder Kelsey Jones was the league's top rookie.

RELATED:  Lynchburg headlines All-ODAC field hockey awards

Lynchburg's season continues Wednesday, Nov. 7 when NCAC champion Denison visits Shellenberger Field at 2 p.m. in NCAA first round play. The winner will travel to Glassboro, N.J. for a second-round game with No. 3 Rowan Saturday, Nov. 10.

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2018 All-ODAC Field Hockey Awards

ODAC Player of the Year: Nikki Simpao, Sr., F, Lynchburg

ODAC Coach of the Year: Enza Steele, Lynchburg

ODAC Rookie of the Year: Kelsey Jones, Fr., M, Shenandoah

ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Scholar-Athlete: Morgan Payne, Sr., D, Shenandoah

ALL-ODAC FIRST TEAM

Alexis Brown So. D Lynchburg

Kayla Copeman Sr. M Lynchburg

Jackie Lerro So. F Lynchburg

Nikki Simpao Sr. F Lynchburg

Emma Clark Jr. GK Roanoke

Kaylin Stenson Sr. D Roanoke

Emilee Wooten So. F Roanoke

Taylor Hayes Jr. M Shenandoah

Morgan Payne Sr. D Shenandoah

Lauren Paolano Jr. F Washington and Lee

Haley Tucker Sr. F Washington and Lee

ALL-ODAC SECOND TEAM

Laura Gretz Sr. D Bridgewater

Georgia Howard Jr. D Bridgewater

Tessa Tierson Sr. F Bridgewater

Kayla Maret So. F Eastern Mennonite

Sierra Magdaleno Sr. M Ferrum

Maria Teresa Ambrogi-Torres So. F Randolph-Macon

Georgia Drescher So. D Randolph-Macon

Kayla Alderman Sr. F Shenandoah

Kelsey Jones Fr. M Shenandoah

Cori Jackson Jr. M Virginia Wesleyan

Skye Swain Sr. GK Virginia Wesleyan

ALL-ODAC THIRD TEAM

Ali Bishop Jr. GK Bridgewater

Skylar Hedgepeth Fr. F Eastern Mennonite

Tatianna Roberts Jr. M Ferrum

Isabella Eldridge Sr. F Lynchburg

Emma Strouse So. M Lynchburg

Claire Magill So. D Randolph-Macon

Gatlin Snyder Fr. GK Randolph-Macon

Kestrel Thorne-Kaunelis Sr. M/D Roanoke

Julie Fassl So. F Virginia Wesleyan

Emily Price Jr. F Virginia Wesleyan

Elizabeth Roberto Jr. D Virginia Wesleyan

Caroline Caruso So. M Washington and Lee

Ariyel Yavalar Sr. GK Washington and Lee

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