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Barr, Gipe and Murphy Earn NorPac Season Honors

October 31, 2012
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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From left to right Helen Doolittle, Natalie Barr, head coach Jodi Murphy, Emily Dinsmore, Abbey Basom and Sarah Gipe.

Liberty freshmen Natalie Barr and Sarah Gipe along with head coach Jodi Murphy, were awarded NorPac season honors on Wednesday night at the NorPac Field Hockey Banquet at Longwood's Blackwell Hall. Barr collected the East Division Offensive Player of the Year award, while Gipe earned the Maria Whitehead Rookie of the Year honor. Murphy was tabbed the Co-Coach of the Year with Stanford's Tara Danielson.

Additionally, Barr and freshman Abbey Basom were placed on the East Division All-Conference team, while sophomore Helen Doolittle earned a spot on the All-Academic team for the Lady Flames.

Stacey de Grandhomme of Longwood brought home the East Division Player of the Year honor, while Davidson goalie Sarah Fisher was voted the East Division Defensive Player of the Year. In the West, Stanford's Becky Dru garnered the Player of the Year award, while her teammate Kelsey Harbin was tabbed the Defensive Player of the Year. Lara Kruggel of California was honored as the West Division Offensive Player of the Year. 

In just its second year of existence, Murphy has taken the Liberty field hockey program to great heights this season. The second-year head coach has guided her young squad to a conference-best mark of 14-5 entering the NorPac Tournament. The Lady Flames have won eight more games than all of last season, while capturing the NorPac East Division regular season title with a 7-1 mark in conference play.

Barr finished the regular season ranked third in the conference in goals (14) and tied for third in assists with seven. The freshman performed on the defensive end of the field as well, recording a team-best four defensive saves. The Northern Ireland native's 14 goals currently places her in a tie for first in the nation among freshmen. Barr also ranks in the top 10 in the conference in every other major offensive statistical category, including shots (77), shots per game (4.53), points (35), points per game (2.06), goals per game (0.82), assists (7) and assists per game (0.41). On Oct. 19, the freshman set the Liberty single-game record for points (9) and goals (4) against Appalachian State. 

Gipe concluded the regular season ranked second on the team with 28 points and 13 goals. The freshman sits in the top 10 in the NorPac in numerous offensive categories, including shots (37), shots per game (1.95), points (28), points per game (1.47), goals (13) and goals per game (0.68). The Pennsylvania native has tallied three multiple-goal games and paced the Lady Flames with four game-winning goals.

Basom started 18 of 19 games this season for Liberty, finishing the regular season with 20 points on seven goals and six assists. The freshman has also tallied 37 shots, which is second on the squad. The Pennsylvania native has tallied a pair of multiple-assist games and one multiple-goal game this season. Among conference leaders, Basom finished in the top 10 in shots (37), shots per game (2.58), points (20), points per game (1.05) and assists (6).

Doolittle, an Interdisciplinary Studies major, currently holds a 4.0 grade-point average and was one of nine players selected to the All-Academic squad. The sophomore started all 19 games for the Lady Flames this season, finishing with four goals and three assists. Doolittle also helped to anchor Liberty's defense, which finished first in the conference in numerous defensive categories.

The East Division regular season champion Lady Flames enter the conference tournament as the No. 1 seed from the East. The Lady Flames battle Pacific in the first round on Thursday at 1:30 p.m.

2012 NorPac Field Hockey Award Winners

East All-Conference
Stacey de Grandhomme, MF, Longwood
Annie Evans, MF, Davidson
Natalie Barr, MF, Liberty
Finely Amato, F, Davidson
Casey Lammando, D, Appalachian State
Jessica Diaz, F, Longwood
Christina Verhulst, MF, Longwood
Abbey Basom, F, Liberty
Alayna Versage, D, Radford
Leslie Thomas, F, Appalachian State
Sarah Fisher, GK, Davidson

West All-Conference
Lara Kruggel, MF, California
Becky Dru, D, Stanford
Kelsey Harbin, D, Stanford
Emily Tregoning, MF, Pacific
Alex McCawley, MF, Stanford
Deanna Kennedy, D, California
Casey Wollbrinck, D, UC Davis
Maddie Secco, MF, Stanford
Shannon Elmitt, MF, California
Hope Burke, F, Stanford
Dulcie Davies, GK, Stanford

East Player of the Year
Stacey de Grandhomme, MF, Longwood

West Player of the Year
Becky Dru, D, Stanford

East Offensive Player of the Year
Natalie Barr, MF, Liberty

West Offensive Player of the Year
Lara Kruggel, MF, California

East Defensive Player of the Year
Sarah Fisher, GK, Davidson

West Defensive Player of the Year
Kelsey Harbin, D, Stanford

Maria Whitehead Rookie of the Year 
Sarah Gipe, F, Liberty

All-Academic Team
Hope Burke, Jr., Stanford
Brit Donaldson, Sr., Davidson
Helen Doolittle, So., Liberty
Emily Knapp, Jr., Appalachian State
Emily Mecke, Sr., UC Davis
Jordan O'Reilly, Jr., California
Caitlin Smith, Jr., Longwood
Emily Trudeau, Sr., Pacific
Alayna Versage, Jr., Radford

Sheryl Johnson Academic Excellence Award
Emily Trudeau, Sr., Pacific

Julie Nagel Extraordinary Teammate
Dana Wetmore, Appalachian State

Co-Coaches of the Year
Jodi Murphy, Liberty

Tara Danielson, Stanford