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Feb. 2, 2015 — NCAA Division II preview: Can Adelphi weather another coaching change?


Lock Haven

Philadelphia University
West Chester

The big off-season story in NCAA Division II women’s lacrosse is the departure of Rob Grella as head coach at Adelphi. In comes Pat McCabe, a Hall-of-Fame player from Syracuse who was capped on several occasions for the U.S. men’s team. The Panthers return four of their five leading scorers from last year’s national champion; Alexa Froccaro (74), Jacqueline Jahelka (61), Rachel O’Brien (42), and Danielle Jaycox (41).

Where Adelphi’s fate rests, however, will be the defensive end of the field. Goalie Taylor Hayes returns, as well as close defenders Camille Rosellini and Lauren Janelli. Center Felicia Mills (179 draw controls) also returns for the Panthers.

LIU-Post will have to get used to life without Jackie Sileo the dynamic attacker who may have been the single most dominant force in all of collegiate lacrosse a year ago. Sileo (55 goals, 89 assists) and classmate Samantha Losco (54-28) have graduated, meaning that the team is going to have to look elsewhere for scoring.

Honey Roche, Kali Maxwell, and Emily Hanifan return on the defense, but goalkeeping will be an issue, seeing as returning goalie Kasey Kephart has exactly 18 minutes of varsity experience in the cage. Freshman Olivia Kirk comes off a scholastic All-American career at Farmingdale (N.Y.), so she will make for a good competition for the starting spot in the goal cage.

One year ago, it wasn’t Post that pushed Adelphi in the final; instead, it was Lock Haven, a program which is more known for its proficiency in field hockey. Chelsea Borrino (30 goals, 83 assists) has graduated, but Jessica Pandolf (79-20) and Kelly Ward (56-8) return. So do top defender Melinda Wojt and goalie Chrissy Baffuto.

I think West Chester is a team to be reckoned with, despite the Rams’ early exit from the PSAC Tournament which cost the Rams a chance at an invitation to the Division II Tournament. The Rams return leading their five leading scorers, including Dina Cifelli (21-59), Hannah Cowan (54-14), Erin Eckert (30-3), Kelsey Gumbert (18-11), and Sarah Dennison (24-4).

If there’s another team that could hover in the headwaters of the Division II race late in the season, it’s Philadelphia University. The Rams led Division II in scoring a year ago and return most of their starting nucleus up top. Leading point-scorer Lauren Hartman (42-35) returns, alongside Allison Brian (52-11), and Liz Mower (29-27). If goalie Kristen Moran stays healthy, watch out.


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