Massa repeats as New England Player of the Year, six named NEILA All-Region
SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Bryant University junior faceoff specialist Kevin Massa (Huntington, N.Y.) has been named the New England Player of the Year for the second-straight season, headlining six Bulldog players selected to All-New England Teams by the New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (NEILA) following a stellar 2014 season.
Massa repeats as the New England Player of the Year and adds his third All-New England Team selection in 2014, including his second NEILA First Team nod. In total, four Bulldogs garnered first team accolades, as sophomore goalie Gunnar Waldt (Freeland, Md.) and senior midfielders Colin Dunster (Cos Cob, Conn.) and Alex Zomerfeld (Port Jefferson, N.Y.) join Massa on the region's top team after guiding the program to a record 16 wins and its first-ever NCAA Quarterfinal appearance. Sophomore attack Shane Morrell (Glen Mills, Pa.) and senior defenseman Matt MacGrotty (New Westminster, British Columbia) were also recognized, taking home All-New England Second Team honors.
MacGrotty was also honored for his performance off the field, adding NEILA All-Academic Team accolades to his list of postseason recognitions.
A two-time Northeast Conference and now two-time NEILA Player of the Year, Massa led the nation in both faceoff winning percentage and ground balls per game throughout much of the 2014 season and finishes the year atop the faceoff ranks with a .688 success rate. Massa's 10.71 ground balls per game sit second on the Division I circuit, though the third-year Bulldog broke the NCAA record for career ground balls earlier this season (593). The all-conference first teamer and Tewaaraton Award semifinalist picked up his second-consecutive 200-ground ball season this spring and added five points (4 goals, 1 assist) to an impressive effort at the X. Massa won 15 faceoffs 11 times in 2014 and finished under 50 percent just three times all year. He recorded 11 double-digit ground ball games and netted the game-winning goal for the Black and Gold at Robert Morris April 19.
Waldt finishes his season ranked in the nation's top-10 in every goalie category, posting a .593 save percentage (fourth), 7.92 goals against average (fifth) and 11.45 saves per game (eighth) for the nationally ranked Bulldogs. Waldt – who was also named the NEC Defensive Player of the Year and a 2014 Tewaaraton Award nominee – anchored a Bryant defense ranked fifth in the nation as well as the team's fourth-ranked man-down defense. Waldt was named the Baltimore Sun National Player of the Week following a 13-save performance in Bryant's upset stunner over No. 4 Syracuse and completes his season numbers with a single-season program-record 229 saves and a 15-5 overall mark.
Dunster finishes out his Bulldog career with a heroic four-goal effort in Bryant's loss to sixth-ranked Maryland in Saturday's NCAA Quarterfinals, completing the year ranked second on the team in goals (39) and points (51). The fourth-round Major League Lacrosse draftee (Denver Outlaws) started all 21 games and set a new Bulldog record with 75 career appearances, also becoming the program's Division I leader in career goals scored (113, good for fifth all time). A three-time all-conference first team pick and two-time All-New England First Team choice, Dunster finishes his career with the Black and Gold ranked in the program top-10 in shots, games played, games started, goals, points, man-up goals and game-winning goals, to name a few. He recorded six hat tricks in 2014 and was named to the USILA/LaxWorld North/South roster earlier this week.
Zomerfeld, an eighth-round draft pick of the New York Lizards, takes home his first NEILA All-New England honor just a day after also being named a USILA/LaxWorld North/South Game pick. The senior captain had a strong postseason showing and finished the season fourth on the team in points (41) while leading the squad with 25 helpers. The top two-way player on the field, Zomerfeld posted top-5 numbers in points, assists, ground balls, shots and caused turnovers in 2014 and will graduate in the program's all-time top-10 in games played (tied for first with Dunster for record), games started, assists, shots, ground balls and game-winning goals. A two-time All-NEC First Teamer, Zomerfeld recorded three 3+ assist games this spring and tallied a pair of man-up goals.
Morrell finished off a stellar second season for the Black and Gold as the team's leading scorer with 61 points and 44 goals in 2014. A two-time NEC First Team selection, he was incredible for the Bulldogs in postseason play, tallying 13 scores and 15 points in five games. The NEILA Second Teamer netted five game-winning scores and six man-up tallies this spring while adding 22 ground balls and six caused turnovers. At season's end, Morrell ranks in the NCAA's top-100 in goals per game (55th, 2.10), points per game (74th, 2.90) and shot percentage (86th, .346).
A three-year starting defenseman and cornerstone of the Bulldog backline, MacGrotty is a two-time All-NEC First Team pick and earns the first All-New England accolade of his career in 2014. A consistent presence and strong leader for the Black and Gold, he led the team with 19 caused turnovers, adding 44 ground balls to his season numbers. MacGrotty was the only Bulldog named to the NEILA All-Academic Team.