LEXINGTON, Va. – Shortly after winnings its final game of the 2012 season 8-7 over Detroit, the VMI lacrosse team and its coaches attended the annual team awards banquet, held in Crozet Hall on Saturday evening.
Six Keydets were honored with team awards while former head coach Doug Bartlett, who guided the program from 1986-2006, handed out program appreciation awards, named in his honor.
Seniors Keith Long and Kyle Hofstetter collected the Offensive and Defensive MVPs, respectively, while Stephen Robarge was given the Fred Hope Memorial Award. Junior goalkeeper was given the Adrian Cmerek Memorial Award as Hofstetter and Dallas Wiggins earned the Iron Keydet award.
Early in the evening, Bartlett recognized the parents of seniors Drew Leonard and Andrew Nieminski for their outstanding dedication and tireless efforts to the VMI lacrosse program.
Awarded to the player who is most valuable within the offensive system, Keith Long was presented with the Offensive MVP award. Long finished the 2012 season with a career-best 42 points on 24 goals and 18 assists, leading VMI in both categories. Starting in every game this season, Long tallied 15 groundballs while causing seven turnovers. He also scored in all but one game this season, averaging three points an outing.
On the opposite side of the field, Hofstetter was the Defensive MVP, awarded to the player most valuable within the defensive system. Often matched up against the opponents’ top players, Hofstetter caused 17 turnovers this season. An anchor on defense, starting in all 14 games, Hofstetter helped the Keydets allow only 67 goals in conference games this season, a 19-goal improvement from 2011.
Robarge was the winner of the Fred Hope Memorial Award, awarded to the VMI lacrosse player who best displays a love of lacrosse and life. The nation’s leader in groundballs and face-off winning percentage, Robarge capped his NCAA career with 415 groundballs, ranking him seventh all-time Division I history. While wearing the red and gold, Robarge won an astounding 669 of his 1,065 face-offs (62.8) including a career second best 66.6 percent this season, winning a career-high 209 of his 314 draws. Earlier this season, Robarge was drafted by Major League Lacrosse’ Denver Outlaws, the only player from the MAAC to be selected this season.
Junior goalkeeper Matt Lindemann won the Adrian Cmerek Memorial Award, given annually to the player who best displays unwavering effort every time he steps on the field. Lindemann became the team’s starter late in the season, playing every minute since the second quarter against Siena on March 17. Named the MAAC’s Defensive Player of the Week on April 10, Lindemann capped the 2012 campaign with a 3-4 record while making 100 saves. Lindemann’s finest outing came on April 7 as the Keydets knocked off host Manhattan College 9-7, giving VMI its first MAAC win since 2009. Not only did Lindemann make 15 saves in that game, he also tallied an assist in the first minute of the third quarter. His 59.9 save percentage for the season was the best for VMI starter since the 1996 campaign.
Awarded annually by the team’s strength and conditioning coach Jimmy Whitten, associate head strength coach at VMI, Hofstetter and Wiggins were honored with the Iron Keydet Award, given to the players who through effort, becomes the strongest pound-for-pound member of the team.
In addition to their contributions on the field, Hofstetter and Wiggins got it done in the weight room as well. Hofstetter holds the team record in three categories, hoisting 300 pounds in the hang clean, while logging 355 pounds in the bench press and recording 90 dips, the highest total Whitten has seen in his nearly 20-years of experience. The 90 dips also set the mark for the best all-time in sports at VMI.
Wiggins, who played in all 14 games this season, is regarded as one of the strongest athletes at VMI, putting up a power index of 650.40, the best all-time in program history and third all-time in VMI athletics history. He also tallied a team record 40 pull ups. He set the second-best mark in the back squat with 425 pounds and converted 83 dips. Adding to the difficulty, Wiggins worked the final third of the season with a gas mask, simulating high-altitude training.
VMI’s coaching staff, led by second year head man Brian Anken, also recognized the 11 seniors, who won one final game for the Keydets 8-7 over rival Detroit. Recognized were Colin Bosse, Anderson Caldwell, Tyler Griffith, Kyle Hofstetter, Chris Kitchen, Drew Leonard, Keith Long, Andrew Nieminski, Stephen Robarge, Chris Rossie and Dallas Wiggins.
Prior to the MAAC tournament, the league office will release its annual awards, including First and Second All-MAAC teams. Please be sure to visit VMIKeydets.com to see the winners.