Ohio Wesleyan senior Peter Hamblett (Portsmouth, NH/Portsmouth) and the Denison duo of junior Henry DeCamp (Washington, D.C./Deerfield Acad.) and sophomore Peter Pittroff (Charlotte, NC/Charlotte Country Day) were named the Players of the Year to highlight the 2018 All-North Coast Athletic Conference men's lacrosse team after balloting by the league coaches.
DeCamp, who is repeat selection on the All-NCAC first team, earned the NCAC Specialist Of the Year Award for the second year in a row after dominating his opponents at the faceoff x this season, winning 237-of-345 attempts for a remarkable .687 average through 18 games thus far. He posted double-digit wins at the faceoff x in 14 different games this season, highlighted by a perfect 21-for-21 showing in a 16-2 win over DePauw on March 10th. The 21 faceoff wins broke Denison's single-game record of 18 that had been held by Warner Seibert since 2005. In addition, DeCamp currently leads the NCAC with 130 groundballs in 18 games, with his top single-game effort also coming in the regular season meeting against DePauw when he broke a 32-year old school record with 20 total groundballs against the Tigers. The previous school record of 18 had stood since Kurt Himy accomplished the feat in 1986. After winning their third-straight NCAC Tournament title with a 14-7 win over arch-rival Ohio Wesleyan on April 28th, DeCamp and the Big Red will now be making their 23rd appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Hamblett, who elevated to the first team from the honorable mention squad in 2017, is the first OWU player to earn the NCAC Defensive Player of the Year Award since 2015 after leading the Bishops' defensive unit that allowed just 7.75 goals-per-game and led the league in penalty killing with a 75-percent success rate through 18 games. Individually, Hamblett has accumulated 31 groundballs and caused 10 turnovers from his midfield position, while also contributing in the offensive zone with 13 goals and 10 assists for 23 total points. He hit his high-water mark with four groundballs in back-to-back games in late March in a 14-5 win over John Carroll and a 20-7 win at Hiram. He also scored two goals in a game against two different NCAC opponents this season, first hitting the mark in a 21-8 win at Oberlin on March 17th, before matching the feat in a 20-2 win over DePauw on April 17th.
Pittroff, who is making his All-NCAC debut on the first team this spring, is the third-straight Big Red player to earn the NCAC's Offensive Player of the Year Award after leading the league with 91 points on 28 goals and 63 assists in 18 games. He has scored two or more goals in a game on 10 different occasions this year, highlighted by a four-goal and four-assist effort in a 19-13 loss against Amherst on March 16th. He has passed out four or more assists in seven games this season, led by a season-high seven helpers in a 16-2 win over DePauw on March 10th. As a team, the Big Red currently ranks second in the NCAC to Ohio Wesleyan in both goals with 262 and assists with 149.
Two league players were named to the first team for the third year in a row after also earning honorable-mention laurels in 2015, including Denison senior defender Ben Duhoski (St. Thomas, USVI/The Millbrook School) and Ohio Wesleyan senior midfielder Luke Leyden (Northfield, MA/Mt. Hermon), while Denison junior Jake Waxter (Baltimore, MD/Gilman School) is the only other repeat selection on the first team from 2017.
Two players made the jump to the top team after earning second-team certificates in each of the last two years, including Ohio Wesleyan junior attack Max Tennant (Englewood, CO/Cherry Creek) and Denison senior defender Liam Burman (Baltimore, MD/Boys Latin School), while Denison junior attack Spencer Butler (Essex Falls, NJ/Millbrook School) elevated to the first team from the 2017 second team.
Ohio Wesleyan junior attack Steven Hildebrand (Berwyn, PA/Conestoga) and Wooster senior midfielder Sam Kuhn (Towson, MD/Loyola Blakefield) elevated to the first team from the honorable mention team last spring, while three additional players make their All-NCAC debut on the top team this year, including Ohio Wesleyan senior defender Aaron Carroll (Baltimore, MD/Gilman School), Denison sophomore long-stick midfielder Sam Dyson (Alexandria, VA/St. Stephen's & St. Agnes) and Ohio Wesleyan senior goalie Ben Rigger (Decatur, GA/Decatur).
Kenyon freshman defender Kern Byrnes (Danbury, CT/Wooster School) was named the 2018 NCAC Newcomer of the Year as the league's top player in his first year of collegiate competition. Byrnes, who was also an All-NCAC second-team selection, played an integral role on the Lords' defensive unit this season with 36 groundballs and 14 caused turnovers, which included tallying his season high in both categories in a 12-8 win over Albion on March 3rd with seven groundballs and three caused turnovers. Byrnes is the first Kenyon player to earn the NCAC's Newcomer of the Year honor since Patrick Shevelson in 2013.
Finally, DePauw head coach Dan Ambrose was named the 2018 NCAC Men's Lacrosse Coach of the Year for the first time in his career after he guided the Tigers to their first NCAC Tournament appearance since the school launched the program in 2013. The Tigers finished the 2018 campaign with a 4-4 mark in league play and an overall record of 7-11. Ambrose now owns an overall record of 15-17 in two seasons at DePauw.