April 10, 2014

WD2 Notebook: Sileo Surpasses Adams in Career Points

By Mark Macyk | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

The new all-division points leader for women's lacrosse, LIU Post's Jackie Sileo is a no-brainer choice for Midfielder of the Half Year. (Scott McCall)

The North Region is topped by two of the strongest undefeated teams in recent memory. Four playoff spots aren’t going to be enough to make everyone happy in the South. And one Division II star is just becoming the NCAA’s all-time leader in points.

It’s true. Division II is no longer a forgotten division.

A champion will be crowned in Salem, Va., on May 18. Before that, here are some midseason awards for what has already been one of the most impressive seasons Division II has ever seen:

Midfielder of the Half Year

Jackie Sileo, LIU Post: You were expecting Jen Adams? That’s weird, because Adams played attack and graduated more than a decade ago. Besides, Sileo passed Adams in career points earlier this season and, last Wednesday, passed Curry’s Ashley Hansbury to become the NCAA’s all-division points leader. The senior from Wantagh, N.Y., has 38 goals and 67 assists and just topped 100 points for the fourth season in a row. The only question remaining is whether she’ll go out as a three-time champion.

Honorable Mentions: Kathryn Campbell, New Haven; Katie Farrell, Limestone; Jessica Pandolf, Lock Haven; Melissa Smith, Lindenwood. 

Atacker of the Half Year

Devan Crimi, Adelphi: If it weren't for Sileo, who grew up just 15 miles away on Long Island’s South Shore, folks would talk a lot more about Crimi, who is also putting the finishing touches on one of Division II’s greatest careers. The senior from West Islip, N.Y., has 48 goals and 30 assists and her 78 points rank second in D2. Crimi won an NCAA title as a freshman and has a real chance to bookend her career with another.

Honorable Mentions: Jackie Anderson, Dowling; Chelsea Borrino, Lock Haven; Caitlin Chase, Florida Southern; Sarah Oor, Limestone.

Defender of the Half Year

Katherine Athens, Pfeiffer: Pfeiffer didn’t find a new coach until the first week of January, but no bother. The team's captain is tough as nails, with leadership to spare, and helped keep things running smooth until the Falcons found their new coach. The senior from Huntingtown, Md., has racked up 65 draw controls, 48 ground balls and 38 caused turnovers to lead Pfeiffer to the South’s stingiest defense (5.50, third in Division II, behind only LIU Post and Adelphi).

Honorable Mentions: Maia Czarnecki, Limestone; Emily Hanifan, LIU Post;  Taylor Norwood, IUP; Jacqueline Williams, Adelphi.

Goalie of the Half Year

Katie Hannan, LIU Post: With all of the graduations LIU Post faced, the goaltender position looked to be the Pioneers biggest question mark this offseason. But Hannan, a senior out of Saratoga Springs (N.Y.), has started every game this season and leads Division II in save percentage (.643), while ranking second in goals against average (4.16). 

Honorable Mentions: Chrissy Baffuto, Lock Haven; Alyssa Gianotti, New Haven; Taylor Hayes, Adelphi: Katie Hammerer, Florida Southern; Katie Hannan, LIU Post.

Rookie of the Half Year

Cassley Jackowski, Roberts Wesleyan: The third-year program from Rochester, N.Y., will be a team to reckoned with in coming seasons thanks to the arrival of the Lafayette, N.Y., native. Jackowski, who graduated eighth on New York’s high school scoring list, leads Division II with 52 goals and has 14 assists in her first year on campus.

Honorable Mentions: Kristen Blye, Philadelphia; Jackie Jahelka, Adelphi; Jessica Maxwell, East Stroudsburg; Stefani Vagelatos, LIU Post.

Best Road Trip

Lindenwood: As the eastern-most team in the RMAC, Lindenwood is always going to travel for its league games, but last week the Lions took a trip they didn’t need to, through Florida, and swept Rollins, Florida Southern and Tampa. After two transitionary seasons, the victories highlighted what has been coach Jack Cribbin’s plan all along: to have LU realistically contend for the NCAA title in its first year of eligibility.

Biggest Upset

Philadelphia 14, Dowling, 13 (March 15):  A shocker from Philadelphia University has been in the works for a few years now. The Rams have been assembling talent and are willing to play everyone. When they shocked the Golden Lions on March 15, the Rams announced themselves as true contenders. They might fall just short of the NCAA tournament this season, but teams will heed caution when visiting the City of Brotherly Love from now on. 

Game of the Half Year

Florida Southern 16, Indiana (Pa.) 15 (March 18): The ending was controversial because the winning goal may have been scored after the buzzer sounded, but you can’t dismiss the fact that the Mocs rallied from a 15-11 deficit with 2:42 remaining to tie it. After last week’s loss to Lindenwood, the victory will be especially crucial for FSC, which is in contention for its first-ever playoff spot. But the game had a benefit for IUP, too. The Crimson Hawks used it as a jumping off point and have not lost since.

Most Anticipated Tournament

TBD: It’s a two league race, but will it be the PSAC or the Northeast-10? Both conferences lay claim to being Division II’s deepest and both will have huge impacts on their respective region’s tournament bids. Might as well just steal a page from Division I basketball and create a PSAC vs. NE-10 Challenge and settle this debate on the field.

Game of the Future

Adelphi vs. LIU Post, North Region Finals?: New Haven, Le Moyne, Saint Anselm and Stonehill certainly will have something to say about this, but it is sure looking like Division II is headed toward a repeat of last year’s thriller in Owings Mills. The two local rivals no longer play each other in the regular season, but they keep finding a way to meet. The smart money is on it happening again in 2014.

And now back to your regularly-scheduled Notebook programming.

Looking Ahead

Saturday: No. 3 Limestone at  No. 5 Pfeiffer, noon

There is a (possibly valid) perception that there exists a huge a drop off between the Top 3 and the rest of the Division II poll. This weekend, Pfeiffer could go a long way toward proving that the middle of the poll hangs with those big teams. But it sure won’t be easy. Only four of Limestone’s victories have come by fewer than 10 goals. Pfeiffer kept it close in last year’s regular season, but Limestone later blew the Falcons out in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Pfeiffer did beat the Saints way back in 2007, to claim the what was then known as the Carolinas-Virginia Conference title. Only one Carolinas team, Belmont Abbey in 2009, has defeated the Saints since. At least one person involved in this weekend's competition likely remembers the last time Pfeiffer topped Limestone. Pfeiffer coach Krissy Bentolila played for the Falcons in that victory.

Game Balls:

Ashley Armstrong, Stonehill: The junior from Northborough, Mass., made seven of her 10 saves in the second half to help the Skyhawks hold on and stun Le Moyne, 7-6, on Saturday. She then made 12 saves and allowed just 12 goals in victories over Bentley and Southern Connecticut to help put Stonehill right back in the NCAA tournament race. 

Lauren Hartman, Philadelphia: The Rams won their ninth victory in a row, topping Wilmington, 16-7, on Tuesday, behind five goals and a career-high six assists from Hartman. The junior out of Our Lady of Mercy Academy (N.J.) had three goals and three assists in Saturday’s 13-4 victory over Georgian Court, which had been unbeaten in CACC play.

Jessica Pandolf, Lock Haven: The Bald Eagles needed a win on Wednesday and Pandolf delivered, scoring the only two goals of overtime in LHU’s 10-8 victory over Mercyhurst. The junior from Sachem North (N.Y.) had scored to put Lock Haven ahead late in the second half, but Mercyhurst tied it up, setting the stage for her OT heroics.

Notes

Limestone’s Scott Tucker was named an assistant coach for Team Canada at next year’s U-19 World Championships in Scotland. Tucker, who hails from Upstate New York, has been funneling Canadian talent to Gaffney, S.C., for years. That includes stars of this recent run, including program legend Sarah Oor, who on Wednesday moved into fourth place on Division II's all-time assists list.

***

A brutal non-league schedule once again has Grand Valley State looking like the team to beat in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Lakers scored back-to-back 19-8 victories over GLIAC foes Findlay and Lake Erie this week. Sarah Lowe currently leads the team with 10 goals and 14 assists and Ryan Skomial has put up 16 goals and five assists.

***

Two-time defending NAIA champion Savannah College of Art & Design finished its regular season unbeaten with an 18-7 victory over Emmanuel on Saturday. The Bees have battled this year, with four victories of two goals or fewer, but finished as the first unbeaten team in school history. Their quest for a third straight national title continues on Friday with the NAIA South Region Championships.


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