Posted: 06/13/2011 | Last updated: June 14, 2011 at 09:39 AM
DOWNINGTOWN, Pa. - Recently graduated Lehigh midfielder Lauren Dykstra played in the IWLCA Division I North-South All-Star Game on Saturday and wouldn’t disappoint, scoring a game-high three goals to earn MVP honors. Dykstra netted the game’s first goal, along with two more in the second half, to lead the South to an 8-6 win.
Graduating as the Lehigh and Patriot League all-time leading goal scorer (with 257), Dykstra was one of two Patriot Leaguers in the game along with Navy’s Caitlin Mandrin Hill. The duo teamed up on the South squad. The game featured senior student-athletes from some of the nation’s top programs including Maryland, North Carolina, Louisville, Loyola and more.
“Lauren went out and did exactly what she is known for - rising to the occasion and delivering,” said Lehigh head coach Jill Redfern. “Her spirit and drive on the field are unmatched, and she is out to win every game. Her superior finishing skills were the difference in the game.”
Tied at four at the half, the North took a 5-4 advantage before Dykstra struck for the second time to tie the score at five. After the South’s second-straight tally, Dykstra won the ensuing draw and went on to score her hat-trick goal to make it 7-5. That proved to be the game-winner, essentially cinching her Game MVP honors.
“I was very surprised and shocked,” said Dykstra about being named MVP. “I had an awesome team to play with. In such a short time, for us to play so well together was amazing.”
“For four years, Lauren has shot every ball in practice and in games like it might be her last,” said Redfern. “It’s completely fitting that her true last three shots were all incredible. Lauren's performance in this game was the exclamation point on a brilliant Lehigh career.”
It wasn’t Dykstra’s first All-Star Game she’s participated in after playing in one as a senior in high school.
“It’s a celebratory type game,” said Dykstra. “We all know it’s probably our last game. These are our rivals on the field that we now get to play with. It’s a complete change. It’s a lot of fun and a great honor to be part of it.”
Dykstra also had the distinction of breaking the ice after neither team could light the scoreboard in the early going. She finished a free position shot to give the South a 1-0 lead.
In the end, Dykstra knows the importance of representing Lehigh and the Patriot League in such a prestigious event.
“I just hope it brings the Patriot League’s name out there,” said Dykstra. “It’s nice to represent Lehigh and the Patriot League and give us more pride.”
“This was a great day for Lehigh and Lauren to be invited to this game and play so well,” said Redfern. “…and for all the seniors who have had such great careers at their institutions. It was a fun day for Lauren.”
Later Saturday, Dykstra attended the IWLCA All-American banquet held at the Crown Plaza Valley Forge in King of Prussia, Pa. She was recently named Lehigh’s first IWLCA All-American since 1996.