Lacrosse: Sam Blicht earns All-American honors

After she helped the Franklin & Marshall women’s lacrosse team win the Centennial Conference title in early May, and earned first-team all-CC honors, it seemed there wasn’t much Sam Blicht could do to top her season.

But the 2012 Wilton High grad managed to do it.

First, Franklin & Marshall advanced all the way to the NCAA Division III Final Four in late May.

And capping it off, Blicht was recently named an  Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Division III second-team All-American.

“Receiving the All-American honors was surprising to me. There are so many great players that I would never have thought I would be one of those players,” said Blicht, a junior defender for the Diplomats. “It is an award that is given to an individual, but I would not have been able to play so well and receive this award if it wasn’t for my teammates. With their support it made it possible for me to play the way I do and be up for an award like this. Not only was the award given to me but I also share it with my teammates. Without them I would not be the player I am.”

The Diplomats fell in the NCAA semifinals to top-ranked Trinity, 11-6, ending the season at 20-3 and ranked third in the country.

It was Franklin & Marshall’s first trip the Final Four since 2010. The Diplomats swept to the semifinals by winning its first three tournament games by a combined score of 54-20.

“This past season was amazing. It was a great experience to go to the Final Four. I am lucky enough to have one more year of lacrosse because going to the Final Four is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Blicht. “The emotions of being and playing in the Final Four are indescribable. All year, our team worked hard in order to get to the Final Four. All the hard work on and off the field was why we got to the Final Four, and why we deserved to be there.”

At Wilton, Blicht was a first-team all-FCIAC player in lacrosse her senior year, and helped the Warriors win the FCIAC championship in 2010 and 2011. She earned second-team all-state honors two years. She also was a two-time first-team all-FCIAC player in ice hockey.

She started 19 games as a freshman at F&M, and as a sophomore started 21 games and earned second-team all-CC honors.

This season she started in all 23 games and was part of a F&M defense that led the conference in total caused turnovers with 192 and was second in ground balls (330).

For the season, the Diplomats were 12th among Division III schools in goals allowed, at 7.2 goals per game.

Blicht was also named first-team all-Centennial Conference in early May. She helped the Diplomats captured the conference title with an 8-6 win over Gettysburg in the championship game.

She also earned first-team IWLCA All-Metro Region honors.

This season, she led the Diplomats in caused turnovers (29) and ground balls (37). She also had one goal and two assists. Her 58 career caused turnovers puts her seventh on F&M’s all-time list.

“Going from high school lacrosse to college is a change. It is played at a faster pace and the skill level and speed of players is different. At first I was nervous but the transition was smooth and quick. The girls on our team make the transition easy and help the incoming freshmen get their confidence quickly,” Blicht said. “Playing in college has been a great experience. I have been able to increase my skills in all areas from my stickwork to my individual position. Also being on this team has made me grow as an individual. I have met so many great people who I know will always be in my life. Our team is very close and I am grateful that I was recruited to play for such and amazing team.”

After winning the conference title, F&M marched to the NCAA semifinals with three impressive wins. After a 21-3 rout of Rhodes, the Diplomats trounced Tufts, 17-8, as Blicht led the team with three caused turnovers. Next, F&M defeated Fredonia in the quarterfinals, 16-9, with Blicht leading the team in caused turnovers with three.

Blicht led the Diplomats in caused turnovers (two) and groundballs (three) in the loss to Trinity in the semifinals.

For her efforts, which included nine caused turnovers in four tournament games, Blicht was named to the all-tournament team.

“As a team it was our goal to get to the Final Four and the finals,” she said. “We knew we were a good team and could beat anyone if we played our game. The confidence that we all play with helped us make it so far and reach some of our goals.”

Blicht is looking forward to her senior season, when she will captain the Diplomats as they seek to continue their winning tradition. This year marked the 12th times F&M has won the conference title, and eighth time it has reached the Final Four, with two national titles, in 2007 and 2009.

Blicht hopes the team can bring home another title next season.

“Being able to get to the Final Four and experiencing it puts fire in us to want to get there again and play in the finals to win a national championship,’ she said. “ I think next year the team should be just as confident. We were a young team last season so we have the majority of the team back.”

It will take another team effort of new and veteran players to make it happen, she said.

“The same attitude and confidence is needed for the next season to help us reach the final goal of winning a national championship. We all play for one another and push each other to become better, which helps us achieve goals that we have as a team and an individual,” she said. “Everyone has the same goal and I know we all will work harder on and off the field in order to get the ring that we all deserve.”

Notes: Franklin & Marshall also features another 2012 Wilton graduate, Christie Huidekoper, who scored three goals this season, including one in the first-round win over Rhodes.