POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - The Marist women's lacrosse team had a banner night on Thursday at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference’s pre-tournament awards banquet. Headlined by Head Coach Jessica O’Brien being named the Anaconda Sports Coach of the Year, the Red Foxes also saw three players named to the All-MAAC First Team, five to the Second Team, one on the All-Rookie Team and a conference-high 16 named to the All-Academic Team.
After leading her team to seven wins down the stretch of the last nine games of the regular season and an overall record of 8-9 on the season and a 4-2 mark in the MAAC, O’Brien was voted by her peers as the Coach of the Year. Going into their matchup at Canisius last weekend, O’Brien and the Red Foxes had a chance to claim a share of the MAAC Regular Season title and the number one seed. With a 16-13 setback to the Golden Griffins, Marist will head into the semifinals as the number three seed and take on Fairfield.
A trio of record-setting players were honored on the All-MAAC First Team as senior Ashley Miller (Montville, N.J.) and juniors Tierney Larson (Fairfield, Conn.) and Jamie Romano (Kings Park, N.Y.) drew recognition. The attack duo of Larson and Miller led Marist with 58 and 46 points, respectively. Larson’s 48 assists set the MAAC single-season record, while Miller’s 41 goals added to her career total of 84, which is ninth-best in Marist’s program history. Romano, a stalwart in draw controls, as well as in the offensive third, registered 35 goals and a single-season Marist record of 75 draw controls. Romano has now been named to All-MAAC teams in each of her first three years as a Red Fox; Miller is a two-time winner and first-time honoree on the First Team.
On the All-MAAC Second Team, seniors Amanda Tuck (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) and Ashley Casiano (South Windsor, Conn.) led a talented group of five Red Foxes. Junior Bailey Knapton (Canandaigua, N.Y.) and sophomores Christine Astarita (Kennett Square, Pa.) and Kirsten Viscount (Smithtown, N.Y.) rounded out the Second Teamers. Tuck, Marist’s most accurate shooter with a .744 shooting percentage finished her regular season with 32 goals, as well as 39 draw controls, 22 ground balls and 10 caused turnovers. Casiano, the Red Foxes’ starting goalkeeper in all 17 games in 2013, posted a 10.57 goals against average and .451 save percentage and held her opponents to nine goals or less in seven straight games from March 21 through April 17. Two of Casiano’s leading defenders during the regular season were Knapton and Astarita as the duo recovered 52 combined ground balls and caused 28 turnovers. Marist’s final second teamer, Viscount, was the team’s second-leading goal scorer with 34 tallies. She finished her breakout sophomore regular season with 42 total points and 29 draw controls.
Tuck, Casiano, Knapton and Astarita are all two-time All-MAAC honorees.
In recognition of her strong freshman campaign, which included two MAAC Rookie of the Week honors, freshman Allison Gionta (Eastport, N.Y.) was named to the MAAC All-Rookie Team. Becoming Marist’s leading threat off of the bench down the stretch with 18 points in her final six games, she concluded her regular season with 12 goals and 12 assists.
Academically, the Red Foxes ranked first in the conference in MAAC All-Academic selections with 16 as their next closest competitors, Fairfield had 11 played named. Three-year honorees included: seniors Jessica Irvine (Hauppauge, N.Y./Biology), Laura Lucchesi (Syracuse, N.Y./Psychology/Special Ed.) and Amanda Tuck (Political Science). Juniors Bailey Knapton (Communications), Tierney Larson (Business Admin.), and Brooke Wickham (Penn Yan/Political Science) led the group of student-athletes with two All-Academic honors in their career. 10 Red Foxes were honored for the first-time: senior Ashley Casiano (Communications), junior Jamie Romano (Psychology/Special Ed.), and sophomores Christine Astarita (Business Admin.), Sheri Fauvell (Moorestown, N.J./Fashion Design & Merch.), Liz Holmes (Longmeadow, Mass./Psychology), Emily Leonard (Brookfield, Conn./Biomedical Sciences), Sabrina Mattera (Wantagh, N.Y./Fashion Design & Merch.), Tina Pumo (Oceanside, N.Y./Psychology/Special Ed.), Erin Schroeder (Vero Beach, Fla./Athletic Training) and Kirsten Viscount (Psychology/Special Ed.).
To be eligible for the MAAC All-Academic Team, a student athlete must complete two semesters at their institution and hold a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 on a 4.0 scale.
The host Red Foxes will begin play at the 2013 MAAC Championship with a semifinal matchup on Friday, May 2 versus Fairfield in a 7 p.m. contest at Tenney Stadium.