May 16, 2013

Different Motto, Same Results for LIU Post

by Mark Macyk | LaxMagazine.com

The scoring numbers from Ashley Olen (above) and Jackie Sileo stand out first, but LIU Post is an extremely deep team.
© Lee Weissman

LIU Post’s motto last year was "25 Strong." It emphasized that regardless of what got thrown their way, you couldn’t break the Pioneers’ spirit. One player would get hurt, another was ready to step in. They rode that mantra all the way to the NCAA championship.

They’ve changed things up this season.

“Every year we have a different team and a different dynamic,” said LIU Post coach Meghan McNamara. “The girls have a lot of love for each other. This is a really special team. We have a new motto. I’ll keep you posted.”

It’s a cryptic answer and a little surprising because last year’s motto could certainly apply to this year’s squad. They haven’t had the same injury issues, and the roster only lists 24 players, but this remains one of Division II’s deepest teams. 

Post’s dynamic 1-2 punch of Jackie Sileo and Ashley Olen draws attention, but teams that think this is a two-person team are often in for a rude awakening.

“Every person is so vital to our success,” McNamara said.

Indeed, even on the rare occasion an opponent has been able to shut down Sileo and Olen (Relatively speaking; in this case shutting down means allowing five points instead of 10), the Pioneers (18-0) have yet to be defeated. 

The scoring numbers from Olen (81-21-106) and Sileo (55-115-170) are mind-boggling but lacrosse is a sport where you’re never guaranteed possession. Post wouldn’t be scoring much if it wasn’t for Abbie Ross (55 draw controls, “One of a kind,” according to McNamara) and Kali Maxwell (89 draw controls) consistently providing possession.

Or Sam Losco, who McNamara described as a “feisty little devil.” Losco ranks fifth in goals (33) and fourth in assists (17), and is the kind of spunky player who raises her game in the kind of big moments this weekend will produce.

The same goes for Morgan Chiarenza, who does the dirty work on the offense side.

“You never know what amazing thing she’s gonna do next,” McNamara said.

Then there are contributors like Brie-Claire Drost (22 ground balls, 11 caused turnovers) Katie Rotan (team-high 33 ground balls), smart players who read the field well.

“The heart and soul of the midfield,” McNamara said.

And of course, the defense in front of goalie Dominique Mosca (6.53, fourth in D2), which is led by a United States Marine.

So maybe the Pioneers aren’t 25 strong this year, but they certainly run 24 deep. 

That’s why LIU Post heads into this weekend’s Final Four with plenty of confidence to face Adelphi for the first time all year. It was the first time since at least 2004 that the teams didn’t face in the regular season.

It will also be the first time since 2008 that these teams meet without Adelphi as the defending champion. That title now belongs to the Pioneers.

“We’re just excited to be back,” McNamara said. “We’re really pumped to be where we’re at right now.”

Looking Ahead

Limestone and Rollins have met every season since 2009, but Saturday will be the first time the two Southern powers meet in an NCAA tournament game. 

The Tars have won two of the past three meetings, but Limestone won the most recent showdown, earlier this season. The Saints lead the all-time series, 3-2, and have outscored the Tars 66-61.

The all-time series is:

2009: Limestone 15, Rollins 13
2010: Limestone 19, Rollins 12
2011: Rollins 13, Limestone 9
2012: Rollins 11, Limestone 10
2013: Limestone 13, Rollins 12

Games of Last Week

Rollins 11, Lock Haven 10
Adelphi 9, Le Moyne 8

The No. 2 vs. 3 games in both regions featured furious comebacks from the visiting team. In the North, Adelphi completed its turnaround and defeated Le Moyne for the first time in three chances this year. In the South, Lock Haven fell just short as Rollins held on to reach its second consecutive South Region final.

Rollins led 10-4 after Caroline Lamere scored with eight minutes remaining in the first half, but Lock Haven scored six of the final seven goals, pulling within 11-10 with the second of two straight goals from Chelsea Borrino with 7:02 remaining. LHU won the ensuing draw and would get several more scoring chances, including a free position with 3:08 remaining that was stopped by Rollins goalie Elyse De Lisle. Erica Pagliarulo picked up a ground ball with seven seconds remaining to seal the win.

Le Moyne was not so lucky. Claire Monnat scored off an assist from Megan Collins with 1:01 remaining in the first to give the Dolphins an 8-3 lead that they would take into halftime. Le Moyne would not score again. Alex Froccaro scored five minutes into the second half to start the run and Melyssa Mathewson sealed it with 51 seconds left to give Adelphi the one-goal victory. Sara Sangiorgio, Devan Crimi (twice) and Sara O’Brien also found the cage in the 6-0, game-ending run.

Game Balls

Taylor Hayes, Adelphi: Hayes, a freshman out of Kellenberg (N.Y.) High School, was inserted late in the first half of Saturday’s North Region semifinal with Adelphi trailing Le Moyne 6-2. After allowing a pair of goals in the closing minutes of the first half, Hayes made four saves, including two off free positions, and the Panthers held Le Moyne scoreless for the entire second half to pull off the come-from-behind, 9-8 victory.

Sylvia Queener, Limestone: Queener had a hand in more than half of Limestone’s goals with five goals and three assists during a 13-3 victory over Queens in a South Region semfinal on Saturday. The senior from Penn Yan, N.Y., ranks second on the Saints in assists (48) and points (91) this season.

Jackie Sileo, LIU Post: Sileo nearly matched a career high with 12 points (six goals, six assists) as the Pioneers took down Stonehill, 15-9, in a North Region semifinal on Saturday. The 12 points, which were even more than the nine the junior from Wantagh, N.Y., had in last year’s record-setting NCAA championship game, were one fewer than the 13 Sileo put up against Stonehill earlier this season.

Mark Macyk has covered NCAA Division II and III women’s lacrosse for Lacrosse Magazine since 2011. He can be contacted at markmacyk@gmail.com.


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