GREENSBORO, N.C. - Tar Heels swept three of four honors Monday as the Atlantic Coast Conference announced its field hockey awards. Senior Caitlin Van Sickle was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Karen Shelton was honored as ACC Coach of the Year, and Emily Wold was named Freshman of the Year.
Virginia's Paige Selenski was named ACC Offensive Player of the Year. The awards were selected in voting by the league's six coaches.
Van Sickle becomes the second player in conference history to earn Player of the Year honors for three consecutive seasons. A back from Wilmington, Del., she anchored a Tar Heel defensive unit that ranks fourth in the country (1.10 goals per game) and posted seven shutouts. Named the 2012 ACC Championship MVP as well as a member of the All-ACC team, Van Sickle has been a first-team All-America selection the past two seasons. This season, she serves as the Tar Heels' team captain.
Wold, a midfielder from Freehold, N.J., has started all 16 games in which she has appeared this season (she missed five games while helping the U.S. Junior National Team to a bronze medal at the Junior Pan American Games) and has been named All-ACC and All-ACC Tournament. She is the seventh North Carolina player to garner Freshman of the Year accolades, the first since Kelsey Kolojejchick in 2009.
Shelton led the Tar Heels to a 20-1 record and a perfect 5-0 mark in conference play as North Carolina successfully defended its conference championship from last year. The Tar Heels, who never dropped below No. 2 in the country and held the top spot for six weeks, finished the season undefeated in regulation with the only loss coming in overtime to No. 7 Syracuse. This is the ninth ACC Coach of the Year honor for Shelton, who led the Tar Heels to their 18th conference title.