Liberty’s Bolton named National Field Hockey Player of the Year | LU Sports

Jill Bolton was instrumental in Liberty field hockey’s magical run to the NCAA Championship game. The forward’s timely goals, veteran leadership and consistent play contributed to a triumph over UConn in the Big East tournament title game and three thrilling wins in the NCAA tournament.

She was honored with the highest honor bestowed on an athlete at Liberty.

Bolton was named the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division I Player of the Year on Thursday. She is the first player in the history of the program to claim this honor, and she is also the first Liberty student-athlete at the Division I level to be named National Player of the Year.

“Jill is a phenomenal field hockey player, but she is an exceptional leader and she embodies everything I would want a Liberty field hockey player to embody,” coach Nikki Parsley-Blocker said last month .

The honor crowns an illustrious career for Bolton, who earlier in the week was named to the NFHCA All-America squad for the third time. She made the U.S. First Team All-Star in the spring and fall of 2021 and took third-team honors in 2019.

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Bolton was the first player in program history to win the NFHCA Division I South Region Player of the Year, and edged out four other Regional Players of the Year for the honor. national.

Other regional players of the year were Brooke DeBerdine of Maryland (Mid-Atlantic), Sophia Gladieux of Penn State (Mideast), Hannah Pearce of Harvard (Northeast) and Anthe Nijziel of Iowa (West).

“I’m just excited to put our name on there,” Bolton said in an interview on Nov. 9.

Bolton has led Liberty with 19 goals and 45 points this season. She placed eighth in the country with 1.96 points per game and 10th with 0.83 goals per game.

The Flames won their first Big East tournament championship with Bolton’s game-winning goal against UConn, and she won tournament MVP honors for that effort.

She ended her career as the program record holder for goals (61), points (156), career games (95), starts (94), shots (330) and shots on goal ( 203). His 34 career assists rank third in program history.

“She just brings the intensity every day to training and every game, she just has that presence on the pitch that people are just willing to give whatever they have for her,” said the midfielder. senior Kendra Jones on Bolton. “Off the field, too, I joke with people. It’s the things off the pitch that you don’t even think about that make the pitch so much better. She brings this every day.

Catherine J. Martinez