ODU’s Smither earns national honor

Published 9:59 pm Thursday, November 24, 2011

As one of the key players in Old Dominion’s national semifinalist field hockey season, freshman midfielder Kelsey Smither (Lakeland) was named National Rookie of Year by Womensfieldhockey.com to go along with a multitude of individual honors awarded to Smither for the 2011 season.

Smither, who led the Lady Monarchs with 13 assists, won the CAA (Colonial Athletic Association) Rookie of the Year and CAA Defensive Player of the Year awards. Smither, who’s on the 19U and 21U U.S. National Teams, was named second-team All-South Region by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association and to the national All-Rookie Team.

ODU went undefeated through the CAA, winning the season and tournament titles. The Lady Monarchs (23-2) were the No. 1 ranked team in the country for much of the season. ODU reached the NCAA Tournament semifinals before falling to Maryland.

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Marquette, with sophomore post player Davante Gardner (King’s Fork) making important contributions off the Golden Eagle bench, went 3-0 and won the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Monday night. Marquette edged the surprise team of the eight-team tournament, Norfolk State, 59-57, in the final.

Marquette (5-0) breezed through the first two rounds. The Golden Eagles, now No. 16-ranked in the country, beat Winthrop 95-73. Gardner had four points, four rebounds and two blocks. Marquette beat Mississippi 96-66 on Sunday. In 14 minutes of playing time, Gardner scored 15 points, including going 9-for-9 at the foul line, with three rebounds.

Marquette beat the Spartans 99-68 in Milwaukee on Nov. 14. The contest for the Paradise Jam title was a lot different. The sides traded the lead late in the game and a Spartan three-point shot was off the mark at the horn as Marquette won 59-57. Gardner had seven points and seven rebounds.

Norfolk State (3-2) reached the final with a 61-56 win over Drexel and a 66-53 victory over TCU. Junior Kris Brown (Lakeland) is a reserve guard for NSU.

Senior guard Andre Jones (Nansemond River) led Winthrop with 29 points against Marquette. Jones had 11 points, four assists and two steals but Drake beat Winthrop 66-62. Winthrop (0-5) fell to Drexel 68-45 to finish its trip. Jones had 18 points and four assists against the Dragons.