Wilkinson announces major team award winners

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 2009 Ohio State field hockey team gathered for one final occasion Friday evening to celebrate its season, which included a bid to the 2009 NCAA Tournament, at its annual end of the year banquet at the Jack Nicklaus Museum.

“Tonight is about honoring all the successes of the student-athletes and thank them for all they have done for the program,” Anne Wilkinson, Ohio State head coach, said. “This team was led by a strong group of seniors. They have accomplished a lot in their four years on and off the field and are so well respected by their teammates.”

The senior class of Natalia Ciminello, Melissa Hunter, Rachel Hunter, Melissa Palm, Lindsay Quintiliani and Ali Ristas started its career by earning a Big Ten ring, winning the regular-season title in 2006, before posting the program’s first NCAA win the same season. The class won 46 games for the Buckeyes over the last four years.

At the end of the year event, Wilkinson also announced the major team award winners.

Rising junior Aisling Coyle was voted the Most Valuable Player by her teammates. An integral part of the Buckeye midfield and co-captain, Coyle orchestrated Ohio State’s transition game while shaking off multiple defenders. The Glasgow, Scotland, native ended the season with five goals, nine assists and 21 points.

Graduating senior and co-captain Quintiliani picked up a bevy of awards, receiving the Harriet Reynolds Scholar-Athlete laurel for owning highest cumulative grade-point average and the Buckeye Spirit Award for exuding the true spirit of a Buckeye. She also shared the Defensive Player of the Year honor with rising junior Jenn Sciulli. Quintiliani ends her career as the winningest Buckeye keeper with 40 victories and is second in the all-time record book with 14 shutouts.

Sciulli, a talented back from Palmyra, Pa., recorded a team-high four defensive saves while serving as the backbone of the Buckeye defense in the sweeper position. In all, Ohio State limited its opponents to just 9.9 shots and 1.54 goals per game in 2009.

After earning the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award last fall, Berta Queralt also was recognized as the team’s Freshman and Offensive Player of the Year. Making an immediate impact, Queralt led the Buckeyes in scoring with 46 points on 17 goals, including five gamewinners, and 12 helpers. The native of Barcelona, Spain, was named a Third Team NFHCA All-American last season, becoming the 24th Buckeye, and the first freshman, to earn the distinction in program history.

Ohio State opens the 2010 season home schedule vs. Syracuse at 3 p.m. Sept. 3 before playing Kent State at 2 p.m. Sept. 5.