Salisbury's Ashton Wheatley is LM's Preseason WD3 POY
|Wheatley, the NCAA Tournament's Most Outstanding Player in leading the unbeaten Sea Gulls to their second title, is our preseason POY for DIII. (Scott McCall)|
BALTIMORE – A first-team All-American and the most outstanding player in last year's NCAA Division III tournament for her part in leading Salisbury to its second NCAA championship, Ashton Wheatley is Lacrosse Magazine's NCAA Division III women's Preseason Player of the Year.
Wheatley allowed a paltry 5.56 goals a game in goal last season for the unbeaten Sea Gulls, stopping 56.3 percent of the shots she saw, ranking second nationally in Division III in both categories. Only one team all year — Roanoke, in a game played in early March — scored in double-digits against Salisbury.
"I've never seen anyone play like her," teammate and All-American midfielder Bethany Baer told Mark Macyk for a feature in the February issue of Lacrosse Magazine. "There are practices when I just can't get it past her. It's more motivation to go out and work on my shot."
Entering her senior year, the athletic Wheatley has lost just one contest since taking over as a starter, the 2012 NCAA finals against Trinity. That loss was avenged last spring with a 12-5 victory over the Bantams that saw Wheatley make nine saves and play all 60 minutes.
With a predictably tough schedule for the defending champions, Wheatley will once again be needed to stand tall between the pipes, but she's proven that she's up for the challenge throughout her career thus far.
Lacrosse Magazine will continue its 2014 college lacrosse preview throughout January and into February, with team-by-team breakdowns of the top teams in NCAA Division I, II and III men's and women's lacrosse, looks at our preseason players of the year and more. Follow the countdown at LaxMagazine.com/LMRanks and on twitter at #LMRanks.
LaxMagazine.com Fan Vote
Caroline Hayes, Trinity, Jr. M - 30%
Erica Geremia, Cortland, So. A - 24%
Lauren Pigott, TCNJ, Sr. M - 20%
Ashton Wheatley, Salisbury, Sr. G - 17%
Bethany Baer, Salisbury, Jr. A - 7%