First-Ever from ECSU: Brianna Nolan Named LEC Offensive Player of the Year

CELEBRATION TIME - After scoring a key goal in the final home game of the season, her Eastern Connecticut State University field hockey teammates rush in to share the moment with senior Monica Nolan of Watertown (7), who helped lead the Warriors to their first-ever NCAA Division III berth.

WILLIMANTIC - The Little East Conference (LEC) announced its 2021 field hockey postseason award recipients, following a vote of the league’s head coaches. Eastern Connecticut’s Brianna Nolan of Watertown was named the 2021 LEC Offensive Player of the Year.

Nolan led the Warriors in scoring with 15 goals and 31 points during their record-setting 2021 campaign, which saw them capture the LEC tournament championship for the first time in program history and make their first-ever NCAA Division III Championship Tournament berth.

Nolan and her ECSU teammates wrapped up an iconic 25th Anniversary season in 2021 with its first appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament Wednesday evening against four-time national champion Bowdoin College.

With a program all-time winning percentage south of 35 percent heading into 2021, the Warriors got the ball rolling last spring with four opening wins and a final spring record of 4-2 record (both losses by a goal) and only picked up speed in the fall by ultimately setting a slew of team and individual records, culminating in a first Little East Conference tournament championship which landed them in their first NCAA tournament.

Eastern began the run last March 26 with a 3-2 overtime home win over perennial LEC champion Keene State College and ended it with another one-goal win over the Owls, this time on the field of the tournament’s No. 1 seed.

Eastern was ranked No. 8 among 13 conference teams in the coaches’ pre-season poll prior to the start of the fall season but responded with a record-setting 9-3 regular-season conference record. The Warriors were seeded third in the LEC tournament, where it outscored three opponents by

5-0 to earn the automatic bid extended to the tournament champion.

Playing a major role in all of it was Nolan, a senior who broke the previous season records for goals and points, with 15 and 31, respectively.

Nolan is the first-ever Eastern Connecticut player to be named LEC Offensive Player of the Year.

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