University of Maine center forward Kelly Newton has been chosen the America East Rookie of the Year as chosen by the league’s coaches.
Newton, a native of Vancouver, British Columbia, is the Bears’ leading scorer with eight goals and seven assists for 23 points. She is fourth in the conference in scoring and second in points per game with 1.64. She is tied for second in game-winning goals with three.
Newton was also chosen to the All-America East first team and to the All-Rookie team. She was one of three Black Bears who earned honors at the annual banquet in Albany Thursday night.
Sophomore midfielder Maire Dineen of Toronto was a first-team selection and freshman forward Stephanie Gardiner, who played with Newton and Bear goalie Brittany Fleck at The Crofton House School in Vancouver, was a second team choice and an All-Rookie team pick.
Gardiner is also a native of Vancouver.
Newton and Gardiner were unanimous choices to the All-Rookie team.
“I’m surprised,” said Newton of her Rookie-of-the-Year honor. “There are a lot of good rookies in the league this year.
“This is the probably the biggest award I’ve ever received,” added Newton. “It’s pretty exciting.”
Newton credited her front line mates Gardiner (8 goals, 3 assists) and fellow freshman Jocelyn Mitchell (4 goals) with playing vital roles in her success.
She also said Maine coach Josette Babineau has taught her how to play effectively on the defensive side of the ball, making her a more well-rounded player.
Babineau said Newton constantly works on her game and does an exceptional job “getting herself into position” to protect the ball and create scoring opportunities.
The skill, passion, work ethic and positive attitudes of Newton and Gardiner have made a huge impact on the team, according to Babineau.
Newton, an outstanding distributor of the ball according to her coach, said she has played a lot of sports but “my real passion is field hockey. That’s my sport. I love everything about it.“
Dineen is Maine’s third-leading scorer with three goals and five assists for 11 points. The Toronto native is an exceptional two-way player who not only creates offense but has been an important defensive presence as well.
Gardiner, an excellent shooter according to Babineau, is the conference’s sixth-leading scorer with her 21 points.
Third seed Maine plays second seed New Hampshire in the 4:00 America East semifinal in Albany today after No. 1 Albany takes on No. 4 Boston University in the 1 p.m. opener.
The championship game will be Sunday at 1.
UMaine football players honored
UMaine senior football players Ryan Canary and Jonathan Pirruccello have been named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District I First Team.
The student-athletes will now be considered for selection to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Team, which will be made up of winners from eight districts around the country.
Canary, a four-year starter for the Black Bears, has a 3.68 grade point average in secondary education. He was an All-Colonial Athletic Association second-team pick at center in 2007.
Canary was a semifinalist for the Draddy Trophy given to the nation’s top student-athlete who is active in his local community.
Turner resident Pirruccello, a two-year starter at defensive tackle for UMaine, carries a 3.53 GPA in biology. He was a member of the 2007 All-CAA Academic Team and, like Canary, has been a UMaine Scholar-Athlete three times.