BOONE, N.C. – After posting two shutouts on the road this past weekend, the Mid-American Conference named App State field hockey senior Rachel Gaines its Defensive Player of the Week, as announced by the MAC on Tuesday afternoon.
Gaines earns the honor after making nine saves in a pair of shutout wins. The senior made two saves in a 3-0 triumph at Towson before making seven saves in a 1-0 victory at Towson on Sunday.
Five of Gaines’ seven saves against the Hoyas came in a crucial third period. The Mountaineers jumped out to a 1-0 advantage three minutes into the second half, holding off the Hoyas for the remainder of the contest.
“This is a great honor for Rachel,” head coach Meghan Dawson said. “She has worked extremely hard to get to where she is now, and she showed up for her team this past weekend.”
The Kettering, Ohio native’s performances in the goal cage helped App State begin the season 2-0 for the first time since 2010. Gaines’ back-to-back shutouts also marked the first time since 2017 that Appalachian blanked two-straight opponents, where Gaines also served as the goalkeeper in three-straight shutouts.
Gaines joins junior Annette Jarosz and senior Ali Williams as the only other players to win a MAC Field Hockey Player of the Week award. Jarosz earned Appalachian’s first MAC Field Hockey Defensive Player of the Week award in 2018, while Williams’ received Offensive Player of the Week honors in App State’s inaugural Mid-American Conference campaign in 2017.
The senior’s recent honor comes after a summer where she earned a chance to participate in the USA Field Hockey Women’s Development Team Selection Camp in December. Gaines ranks seventh in school history with 364 saves in an App State uniform.
Gaines and the Mountaineers close out their schedule away from Boone with a neutral site matchup against Lafayette on Friday in Lynchburg, Va. The Leopards opened the season with a 2-1 victory at home against VCU on Friday.