March 11, 2011

NCAA Division II Women's Lacrosse Notebook: Shepherd's Flock Finds Success in Second Season

by Mark Macyk |

Shepherd women's lacrosse coach Tammy Butler says the Rams are winning because of a successful blend of youth and returning players that survived the growing pains of their inaugural season.

Shepherd women's lacrosse coach Tammy Butler asks all recruits the same question. Do they want to be part of something established, or do they want to build something?

She's not knocking the establishment -- there are challenges both ways -- but the second-year coach knows the kind of player she wants at her young program. The approach is working. After winning two games in their inaugural season, the Rams have already doubled their all-time win total with a 4-0 start.

"Just by the caliber of individuals we have, we are truly poised for greatness," Butler said. "I'm excited about how we're meeting the challenges."

Twelve newcomers joined 10 returners from a team composed mostly of club players and walk-ons for the 2011 edition. They've meshed together remarkably quickly.

Shepherd trailed by two with three minutes remaining in the season opener against Shenandoah, but rallied to force overtime and won it when freshman Shannon Carta scored in sudden death on a feed from classmate Jenna Cavey.

"These freshman players took a huge risk on a new program," Butler said. "They need to be commended. For a young team playing in their first game, it just tells you a lot about the team. Their drive and their ability to overcome."

The Rams have since defeated Ferum 18-7, Wilmington 22-17 and West Virginia Wesleyan 26-5. The veterans are stepping up as well. Sophomore Nicole Ruane has 29 points and her classmate Krista Tippet has 21. Carta leads the newcomers with 23 points. Freshman goalie Emily Melanson has made 31 saves.

"They're blending," said Butler. "We've done a lot of work. They appreciate each other."

The Rams hit the road to take on Millersville on Friday.

Rollins rolling

No team has as many games under its belt than the six played by Orlando-area Rollins College (5-1). The Tars have used their location to lure top northern teams on spring break, hosting Adelphi, and Stonehill comes to town next week. Last week the Tars took their own spring break, headed north and won two games in North Carolina.

Last Friday, Rollins ended the game with six unanswered goals for a come-from-behind 16-11 victory over Pfeiffer, a team which had just pushed No. 9 Gannon to the brink. Two days later the Tars beat Queens (N.C.) 18-8 behind four goals from Erica Pagliarulo.

Rollins is home for the next four games, hosting teams from as far away as Massachusetts (Stonehilll) and Missouri (WCLA contender Lindenwood). When the homestand ends, the Tars make their own long trip to take on PSAC foes Lockhaven, Edinboro and Millersville.

C.W. Post wins; Olen on watch list

Junior Ashley Olen, the 2011 ECC Preseason Player of the Year and a second team All-American in 2010, was one of two Division II players named to the Tewarton Award watch list this week. Olen led the Pioneers with 61 goals last season.

Post got the season started in a big way Wednesday with a 16-5 victory over Georgian Court. Freshman Jackie Sileo had the big game, tallying three goals and four assists in her NCAA debut.

Post heads to Southern New Hampshire on Sunday.

Adelphi's Petersen on Tewaarton watch, too

The nation's reigning leading scorer, Claire Petersen, was named to the Tewaaraton watch list this week, the fifth Adelphi player ever to make the list. The junior had five goals and one assist in Adelphi's lone game, a 21-9 victory over Rollins in February.

Petersen and the Panthers make their home debut Saturday against Philadelphia.

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