Despite falling one match short of winning her first conference championship, North Kingstown graduate Brandee Thomas recently found reason to celebrate as she was named the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference’s Player of the Year.

The former Skipper followed up a freshman season in which she was named the MASCAC’s Rookie of the Year by leading Framingham State in points (329.5), total attacks (905) and kills (305), the latter also pacing the conference.

Thomas racked up double-digits in kills 18 times this fall, reaching a season-high of 19 in a straight-sets win over Mount Holyoke on Oct. 25 in which she also accrued a match-leading 22 points as the Rams took care of the Lyons.

In addition to earning player of the year honors, the sophomore outside hitter also retained her place on the all-conference first team along with also being selected as the loop’s player of the week on three occasions.

Framingham State finished the season on Nov. 9 with a four-set defeat to Westfield State in the MASCAC’s championship match, despite Thomas putting together a 14-kill, 12-dig performance for the 18-12 Rams.

George, Middlebury are Final Four bound

North Kingstown native Katie George will be descending on Manheim, Pennsylvania, this upcoming weekend along with the rest of the Middlebury field hockey team, as the Panthers sealed their berth in the Division III semifinals with a pair of victories.

The two-time defending national champions came from behind to eliminate Babson 2-1 on Saturday before making quick work of Kean in the regional final the next day, knocking out the Cougars with three first quarter goals on their way to a 4-1 decision.

George netted the first of those markers 41 seconds into the contest for her team-best 12th of the season, depositing home a rebound after Kean goaltender Belly Reynoso had denied Julia Richards’s initial effort.

Awaiting the Panthers in the semifinals on Saturday is Salisbury, who punched their ticket with a 2-0 decision over Lynchburg as the 20-1 Sea Gulls notched their 14th shutout of the year.

Joining Middlebury and Salisbury in the final four are Johns Hopkins and Franklin & Marshall, with the Blue Jays holding the upper hand on the Diplomats via a pair of 2-1 victories obtained earlier this month, the latter deciding the Centennial Conference title.

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