2017 IWLCA Assistant Coaches of the Year Announced
The IWLCA has announced the 2017 Divisional Assistant Coaches of the Year. Kerri Whitaker (University of Pennsylvania), Joe Corace (Mercy College), and Samantha Keary (University of Redlands) will be recognized at the IWLCA Honors Banquet on November 15 at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. The Assistant Coach of the Year award recognizes an assistant coach from each Division who has made a distinct impact on the success of their program through hard work, commitment, dedication, and sportsmanship.
According to Karin Corbett, head coach at the University of Pennsylvania, Whitaker’s “devotion to Penn Lacrosse is apparent in all that she does to make the student-athlete experience second to none. She cares about their success both on and off the field.” Corbett also attributed the Quakers’ offensive success in 2017 to Whitaker’s efforts. “Kerri has helped our attack become extremely successful. Penn is known for our defense, but we’re now scoring more and our offense is winning more and more games for us,” Corbett wrote in her nomination. Penn went 13-4 last season, earning a share of the Ivy League title. The Quakers qualified for the NCAA tournament, but fell to the US Naval Academy in the first round, and finished the season ranked #12 in the final IWLCA Division I Coaches Poll. “Kerri has been instrumental in Penn’s continued success with her diligence, commitment, and drive. We are so lucky to have Kerri here at Penn and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award,” said Corbett. Penn had three players selected to the IWLCA Mid-Atlantic Region first team, and two named to the second team in 2017. “I want to thank the IWLCA for considering me for this honor,” Whitaker said. “This award is a tribute to the Penn Lacrosse program, especially the student-athletes I’ve coached and the staff I’m fortunate enough to work with every day. Their drive, determination and the way they care for one another motivates me every day.”
“Coach Joe Corace has brought a wealth of knowledge, experience and intensity that has helped our program rise to one of the top teams in the conference, the region and the country,” according to Mercy College head coach Dawn Sachs. She credited Corace with changing up Mercy’s defensive schemes, allowing them to play a more up-tempo game, in her nomination. The Mavericks qualified for the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history, earning the fifth seed in the North region in 2017. Corace, who was recently promoted to associate head coach for both the men’s and women’s teams, said “I am pleased, honored and humbled to accept this prestigious award.” Corace helped Mercy finish 2017 ranked #11 in the final IWLCA Division II Coaches Poll, and earn their first ever All-American recognition as Hunter Isnardi and Talia Stagnitta were tabbed for the first and third team respectively. “Joe works tirelessly for both the men's and women's lacrosse programs at Mercy and provides stability for our team by being a great role model and father-figure to our kids,” Sachs said.
Samantha Keary played lacrosse at the University of Redlands before becoming the graduate assistant for the program. Head coach Suzette Soboti said, “We are so proud of Samantha and this recognition of all she does to serve our student-athletes. She was a two-sport athlete for me and I knew then we had a special person in our programs. Sam has exceeded expectations consistently and has elevated all those around her. The University of Redlands and our women’s lacrosse program are beyond grateful for Samantha and her contributions – now the whole lacrosse community knows Sam Keary is a superstar!” The Bulldogs posted a 9-8 record in 2017 and advanced to the SCIAC postseason tournament, and Soboti’s nomination lauded Keary’s efforts, both on and off the field, to advance the program. Keary is the team’s defensive coordinator, spearheads recruiting efforts, and manages the team’s academic success program and their social media accounts. “I am certain there are many coaches deserving of this award, so I am beyond honored and grateful to be recognized among such a talented group of individuals,” said Keary, who helped mentor two first-team All-Region honorees (Quinn Egan and Hanna Morford), and two second-team selections (Lacey Bjorndal and Dulce Moll).
All three honorees will be recognized at the IWLCA Honors Banquet held at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort on November 15 in conjunction with the Association's Annual Meetings.