York College senior Kevin Witchey was the best NCAA Division III men's lacrosse defender in the nation in 2019.
That was the judgment of the folks who recently awarded Witchey the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association William C. Stiles Memorial Outstanding Defenseman of the Year honor.
Witchey had earlier been named a USILA First-Team D-III All-American.
Witchey helped lead the Spartans to a 19-3 season, which included another regular-season Capital Athletic Conference championship and a berth in the NCAA D-III Elite Eight.
Witchey spearheaded a Spartan defense that allowed 7.72 goals per game. Witchey played in and started all 22 games, notching 28 caused turnovers and scooping up 32 ground balls, all while being trusted with checking the opponent's best players.
"This recognition is a long time coming for Kevin," said York College head coach Brandon Childs in a news release. "Over the past three years, Kevin has covered some of the nation's top attackmen and midfielders and has limited the impact those players have made on the game."
Witchey finished his career playing 79 games with 65 starts. He totaled 105 ground balls and 65 caused turnovers. For the Spartans, Witchey ranks fourth in career turnovers, seventh in career starts and eighth in games played. He also is ninth in caused turnovers per game (0.82).
"On and off the field Kevin is a worker," Childs said. "There are just not words to describe what his teammates see him doing every day. Whether it be in the weight room, the film room or in the library, the kid is a perfectionist that prepares himself better than anyone to be at his best."
All-Americans: Witchey is one of eight Spartans to earn USILA All-America honors in 2019. That is a school record. He was joined on the All-America teams by teammates J.D. Beck, Thomas Pfeiffer, Hunter Davis, Danny O'Connell, Billy Sasso, Brad Casale and Nick Roman.
Beck (defender) and Pfeiffer (attack) were second-team honorees. The Spartans had a trio of players earn third-team honors: Davis (attack), O'Connell (short-stick defensive midfielder) and Sasso (face-off specialist). Casale (midfielder) and Roman (long-stick midfielder) earned honorable mention accolades.
Beck is now a three-time All-American. The senior led the team in caused turnovers with 34. He also had 40 ground balls.
Pfeiffer ends his career as a two-time All-American after being a first-team selection in 2018. Pfeiffer led the team in scoring with 88 points on 53 goals and 35 assists.
Davis earned his first All-American accolades after finishing his senior year with 83 points on 57 goals and 26 assists.
O'Connell had a breakout junior year with 48 ground balls and 11 caused turnovers.
Sasso is now a two-time All-American after being an honorable mention selection as a junior. He finished his senior year winning 252 of 409 face offs, good for a winning percentage of 61.6%. He also had a team-high 143 ground balls.
Casale earned his first All-America award after concluding his final year with 33 points on 26 goals and seven assists. He also had 30 ground balls.
Roman, a junior, earned his first All-America accolade after finishing second on the team in ground balls with 57, to go with 19 caused turnovers.
Information for this story was provided by York College.