Mariano Named NEC Coach of the Year, Four Pioneers Named All-NEC

Mariano Named NEC Coach of the Year, Four Pioneers Named All-NEC

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Sacred Heart men's lacrosse head coach Tom Mariano was named the Northeast Conference Coach of the Year on Tuesday, as announced by the conference. Additionally, four Pioneers earned All-NEC honors.

Mariano led the Pioneers to their first NEC Championship appearance this season, and Sacred Heart's first postseason berth since 2001. Sacred Heart was 3-2 in conference play after winning just two conference games since 2011.

Senior midfielder Matt King (Brewster, N.Y.) and junior defenseman Andrew Newbold (Loveland, Ohio) were named to the All-NEC First Team. This is King's first postseason honor. King tied for the team lead in goals this season with 26, scoring in each of the last 12 games. In nine of those games, King scored at least two goals including a pair of four-goal games against Wagner and Quinnipiac. He is the only Pioneer to have double-digit goals and double-digit assists. Newbold was an All-NEC Second Team selection last season. He has three goals and an assist this season, tying his offensive output from a year ago. Newbold leads Sacred Heart with 21 caused turnovers and is third with 38 groundballs.

Stephen Kontos (Danvers, Mass.) garnered All-NEC Second Team accolades after recording a single-season career-high 61% faceoff percentage. Kontos is seventh in the nation in faceoff percentage and has a team-high 79 groundballs. He won over 50 percent of his draws in 10 of 13 games this season, winning at least 20 faceoffs in three straight games against Wagner, Quinnipiac, and Robert Morris. Kontos won a career-high 23 faceoffs against Quinnipiac on April 13 and added a career-high 15 ground balls. He also had four points this season on a goal and three assists.  Freshman midfielder Alex Dodge (Smithtown, N.Y.) earned a spot on the All-NEC Rookie Team. Dodge tallied seven points in eight games this season, scoring four goals with three assists. He had two goals and two assists in the Pioneers' 21-8 win at Wagner on April 6. Dodge also scored a goal the next week against Quinnipiac and had an assist in Sacred Heart's win over Robert Morris on April 20.

Sacred Heart takes on Bryant in the NEC Championship semifinals Thursday at 1 p.m. at Bryant.