CLEVELAND – After posting her fourth and fifth shutouts of the season this past weekend, the Mid-American Conference named Appalachian State field hockey goalkeeper Rachel Gaines its Defensive Player of the Week, as announced by the MAC on Tuesday afternoon.
The senior becomes the first App State player to win two MAC Field Hockey Player of the Week awards in the same season, earning the first honor after notching two shutouts to begin the season. Gaines’ eight saves between two shutout victories this past weekend boosted her save percentage to .926, which ranks No. 1 in the nation. The Kettering, Ohio native also tops Division I ranks in shutouts per game (0.83) and goals against average (0.32).
Along with App State’s stellar play in the backfield, Gaines’ performance boosted the Mountaineers to their first six-game winning streak since 1985. App State also secured its first wins over Saint Francis and Lock Haven in program history this past weekend.
“I’m proud of Rachel and all the strides she’s made this season,” head coach Meghan Dawson said. “She’s working extremely well with our defenders to keep the ball out of the cage.”
Gaines denied two shots in Friday’s 1-0 win at Saint Francis. The goalkeeper then made six saves in Sunday’s shootout victory at Lock Haven. Gaines played all 80 minutes, stopping all five Lock Haven penalty stroke attempts to clinch the win.
The Kettering, Ohio native’s five shutouts this season raises her career total to 11 clean sheets. With 25 saves this season, Gaines sits just two stops behind Chelsea Dailey for the seventh-most saves in program history.
The Mountaineers have had three student-athletes earn MAC Field Hockey Player of the Week awards in 2019, including Gaines, junior Annette Jarosz and junior Meghan Smart. Jarosz and Smart became the first App State duo to sweep both Player of the Week honors this past week.
App State opens its longest home stand of the season with matchups against Ohio (3-1) on Friday and No. 1 North Carolina (5-0) on Sunday. Friday’s Mid-American Conference opener is set to begin at 6 p.m.