IWLCA Announces Coaches of the Year
13 mentors recognized for 2012 season
October 1, 2012
The IWLCA has recognized 13 collegiate mentors as 2012 Coaches of the Year in their respective regions, with three being honored as National Coach of the Year. Divisional champions Kate Livesay from Trinity, Meghan McNamara from C. W. Post, and Kelly Amonte Hiller from Northwestern each led their teams to the NCAA title and were selected by their peers to receive the national recognition.
In Division III, Livesay led the Bantams to their first NCAA title in program history. She has led the program to an 87-22 record over the last 6 seasons, giving her the highest winning percentage (.870) of any women's lacrosse coach in Trinity history. In the 2011-2012 campaign, Livesay led the Bantams to a program-best record of 21-1, topping the previous record her squad set in 2010-2011 (18-1). In her 6 years at the helm, Livesay has been named NESCAC Coach of the Year three times (2007, 2011 & 2012). Livesay has guided the Bantams to the NESCAC Championships all six years of her tenure as head coach and added an impressive five visits to the NCAA Tournament. In the last two seasons alone, Livesay has coached seven All Americans. Three of Livesay's players were named All-Americans this season, five were named to the NESCAC All-Conference Team, and senior midfielder, Liz Bruno, was named the National Women's Lacrosse Midfielder of the Year. This season, Livesay's squad set new Trinity records for goals scored in a season (264), points in a season (355), shots in a season (571), and draw controls in a season (265). Livesay also achieved both a second consecutive NESCAC Championship and the first NCAA Tournament Championship in Trinity College Women's Lacrosse history this season. Livesay was also named the Berkshires Coach of the Year.
Six of Livesay’s colleagues were honored as Regional Coaches of the Year. Missy Foote (Middlebury), Jen Dragoni Muston (York), Jim Nestor (Salisbury), Sharon Pfluger (TCNJ), Kathy Taylor (Cortland), and Michele Uhlfelder (Occidental) each earned a nod by the IWLCA. Foote, representing the Pilgrim region, led her team back to the final four for the first time since ’07. Middlebury finished the season with a 15-5 record overall, winning the NCAA Regional at Gettysburg before advancing to the final four. The team also advanced to the NESCAC title game, falling to eventual national champion Trinity. Foote was recently named to the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, finishing up her 32nd season with a career mark of 376-101-1.
Muston led the 2012 York College squad to a record-setting campaign. In just the seventh season of varsity competition, the Green and White went 14-5 and earned the school’s first ever women’s lacrosse NCAA Tournament berth. The 14 wins, coupled with a Capital Athletic Conference championship game appearance, were notable accomplishments as Muston earned her second straight CAC Coach-of-the-Year award. In 2011, York went 13-4 and earned a first-ever berth in the CAC semifinals. Since Muston's arrival prior to the 2008 season, York has posted a 55-31 mark including ten-plus wins in four of her five seasons. For her career, Muston has coached 15 of York's 18 All-Capital Athletic Conference honorees, including a program-best seven selections this spring.
Pfluger had another successful year at TCNJ leading the Lions to the NJAC Championships and then directed the team to the NCAA quarterfinals. TCNJ finished the year with 16 victories and on a personal note, Pfluger garnered her 400th career win on April 24 against Stevens Institute of Technology. The Lions (16-4) boasted the second best defense in Division III allowing 6.35 goals a game and ranked fourth in scoring margin with a difference of plus-8.85 goals a contest. This season also saw TCNJ's all-time scoring record fall as senior Leigh Mitchell finished her career with 398 points and became the only play in program history to record three 100-point seasons. She also set school records for assists in a career, season, and game as well as points in a game.
In his 11th season at the helm, Nestor guided the Salisbury University women’s lacrosse team to the program’s fifth national championship game and the Sea Gulls’ 10th straight Capital Athletic Conference championship. Salisbury tied the school record for wins in a season, going 22-1 in 2012, spending six weeks atop the IWLCA top 20 coaches poll and finished the season No. 2. The Sea Gulls opened the season with 22-straight wins, matching the school record for consecutive wins. Nestor’s team had four players honored as All-Americans, including three student-athletes on the First Team and attacker Katie Bollhorst was named 2012 CAC Player of the Year. The Sea Gulls were the top-ranked defense (5.00 goals per game) in the nation and the 19th-ranked offense (15.43 goals per game). In his 11 seasons as Salisbury’s women’s lacrosse head coach, Nestor has posted a record of 198-24, including a 68-2 mark in the CAC. Under his guidance, the Sea Gulls have won 87 consecutive CAC contests.
Taylor completed her fourth season as Cortland’s women’s lacrosse head coach in 2012. She has led Cortland to a combined 72-14 record (.837), four State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) tournament titles and four NCAA Div. III tournament appearances. Taylor's 72 victories are third in Cortland history and her .837 winning percentage ranks as the best in program history. Eleven of her players have earned All-America honors, including three in 2012, two of which made the first team. She has coached Cortland's first-ever four-time All-American who finished her career as the Red Dragons' all-time leader in goals, assists and points and third in scoring in Division III history. This past season, Taylor led Cortland to a 20-2 record, including 19 wins in a row, a 14th consecutive SUNYAC title and a second straight appearance in the NCAA Div. III Final Four where the Red Dragons tied for third nationally, falling to eventual national champion Trinity in the semifinals. The 20 wins were the second-most in program history behind only the 21 victories from last season. Besides the three All-Americans, Taylor coached six all-region players, six All-SUNYAC players, the SUNYAC Player of the Year and the Elite 89 Award winner this season.
Uhlfelder led the Occidental women's lacrosse team to a 13-4 overall record, its first SCIAC Championship game and its first NCAA Division III playoff appearance in just the program's third year. After winning eight games combined in their first two seasons, the Tigers went on a 10-game winning streak in 2012 that spanned nearly two months. In the first round of the NCAA playoffs, Oxy was just one goal away from advancing before losing 15-14 to Redlands. Laxpower.com ranked the Occidental College women's team one of the seven most improved NCAA Division III schools during 2012 and Uhlfelder was recently selected as an assistant coach with Team Canada for the 2013 Women's Lacrosse World Cup. The Tigers finished the season ranked No. 2 in the West Region without any seniors on their roster. They had six players named All-SCIAC and had their first player ever named to the IWLCA All-West Region team.
In Division II, C. W. Post’s Meghan McNamara just completed her fifth season as head coach of C.W. Post, and reached the pinnacle of success this season as the Pioneers won the 2012 NCAA Division II National Championship, defeating West Chester, 17-16. This year’s appearance in the NCAA Championships was a record tenth for the Pioneers, and McNamara’s team ended the season with the top ranking in the IWLCA poll. C.W. Post ended its season with a 17-3 record, tying the program record for wins in a season. Several other records also fell under McNamara’s tutelage, include most goals in a season (team - 337), single-season scoring (Ashley Olen – 74), single-season assists (Jackie Sileo – 96) and single-season points (Sileo – 141). The Pioneers outscored opponents 337-177 this season and were ranked top ten nationally in several categories: first in points (525), fifth in scoring offense (16.85), sixth in scoring margin (8.00), and sixth in scoring defense (8.85). McNamara also had five players earn IWLCA All-America first team honors, five players named to the IWLCA North Region teams, and ten players garnered spots on the All-East Coast Conference teams, including Coach of the Year honors for McNamara. In her five seasons as head coach, McNamara has posted a 79-14 record.
Rollins Colleges’ Dennis Short was hired in March 2007 to start a Division II varsity women’s lacrosse program at Rollins– the first intercollegiate program in the state of Florida. In just five short years, he has built the Tars into a national powerhouse. Rollins reached new heights in 2012, posting a record of 15-2 and advancing to the semifinals of the NCAA Division II National Championship as the No. 1 seed in the South Region. The Tars won 15 straight games to start the season and were the last undefeated team in the nation. They were ranked as high as No. 3 in the IWLCA Division II poll and finished ranked fifth. Short coached the Tars to the second-best scoring offense in the nation, putting up nearly 18 goals a game. Led by goalie Elyse De Lisle, the defense allowed a NCAA fourth-best 8.5 goals a game as Rollins outscored opponents by nearly 10 goals a game during the season. Short mentored five IWLCA All-America selections in 2012, including two first team honorees. In his career at Rollins, Short has guided eight All-Americans.
In Division I, Northwestern's Kelly Amonte Hiller once again found a way to have her team play its best lacrosse in the NCAA Tournament, capturing the program's seventh national championship in the last eight years with a pair of two-goal wins in the NCAA semifinal and title games. The team finished 21-2 overall, with 11 wins over opponents ranked in the top-10 and a 5-1 mark in games decided by two goals or fewer. The 2012 Wildcats ranked second nationally in scoring defense (7.48 GAA) and held all four of their NCAA Tournament opponents to seven goals or fewer. After losing the draw control battle to Florida, 18-5, in the ALC Championship game, Amonte Hiller's Wildcats went on to win the draw in their ensuing four NCAA Tournament games by an average margin of 13.0-5.8. Amonte Hiller this year became the winningest coach in NCAA Tournament history with 32 career tournament wins compared to just two losses.
Three other Division I coaches were honored as Regional Coaches of the Year. Jen Adams turned what could have been a rebuilding year for Loyola into one of the most successful seasons for the Greyhounds. Despite losing 73 percent of its scoring from a year ago, Adams led Loyola to its second straight BIG EAST title – knocking off No. 6 Notre Dame and No. 2 Syracuse in the conference tournament – and an appearance in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships. The 13-7 win over Syracuse in the BIG EAST title game marked the highest-ranked opponent the Greyhounds have defeated under Adams, and she also picked up her 50th career win in the regular season finale at UConn. Adams led Loyola to a school record 7-1 mark in BIG EAST play, with the Greyhounds’ only loss being a 13-12 decision at Syracuse. Under her guidance, Loyola claimed BIG EAST Defender and Midfielder of the Year honors, while seven Greyhounds earned All-BIG EAST honors, including a school record six being first-team honorees and three being freshmen. Adams also saw Loyola earn its first pair of first-team IWLCA All-Americans since 2003. On the field, Adams turned her freshman class into one of the most potent offenses in the nation, with the group combining to contribute more than 50-percent of the team’s goals and points and rank 27th nationally in scoring offense.
Gary Gait led Syracuse to its most successful season in school history in 2012. The Orange won a school-record 19 games and made its first appearance in the national championship game. Syracuse won a program-best 15 consecutive games at one point and climbed to No. 2 in the polls, its highest ranking in school history. Gait, the 2012 BIG EAST Coach of the Year, led SU to three wins against teams ranked in the top five and seven against top 10 teams. The Orange earned a program-best No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the national semifinals for the third time in the last five years. Syracuse posted the second-largest comeback in NCAA Championship history against Florida in the semifinals for the program’s first win against a No. 1-ranked team. In addition, Syracuse went undefeated in BIG EAST play (8-0) for the second time since joining the league in 2001. Under Gait’s tutelage, the Orange finished fourth in the nation in points (476), seventh in scoring margin (5.57) and eighth in scoring offense (14.57). Syracuse had the nation’s leading scorer and several players ranked in the top 10 in numerous categories.
Amanda O'Leary led Florida to yet another record-breaking season in 2012. In just its third year, the Gators went 19-3 and won both the ALC regular-season title and the ALC Championship, finishing 8-0 on the year against ALC teams. Florida captured 10 wins over ranked opponents, including taking down No. 1 Northwestern twice, the seven-time National Champion's only two losses of the year. After a 4-2 start, O'Leary's Gators earned 15 straight victories, two conference titles and their first bid to the Final Four. The Gators became the youngest program ever to win back-to-back NCAA Tournament games, and O'Leary became just the third coach in NCAA history to appear in the Final Four as a player (Temple), an assistant (Maryland) and a head coach. The WomensLax.com National Coach of the Year led UF to finish in the top 5 nationally in almost every statistical category, including leading the NCAA in scoring defense. O'Leary's 2012 squad picked up a total of 14 All-America honors, two National Goalie of the Year honors, and featured both a Tewaaraton Award finalist and a Honda Sports Award finalist.
2012 IWLCA National Coaches of the Year
Division I: Kelly Amonte Hiller, Northwestern
Division II: Meghan McNamara, C. W. Post
Division III: Kate Livesay, Trinity
2012 IWLCA Regional Coaches of the Year
Mid-Atlantic Region: Jen Adams, Loyola
Northeast Region: Gary Gait, Syracuse
West/Midwest Region: Kelly Amonte Hiller, Northwestern
South Region: Amanda O'Leary, Florida
North Region: Meghan McNamara, C. W. Post
South Region: Dennis Short, Rollins
Metro Region: Jen Muston, York
Pilgrim Region: Missy Foote, Middlebury
Berkshire Region: Kate Livesay, Trinity
West Region: Michele Uhlfelder, Occidental
Chesapeake Region: Jim Nestor, Salisbury
Boardwalk Region: Sharon Pfluger, TCNJ
Empire Region: Kathy Taylor, Cortland