Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/21/17
From Press Release
The No. 17/19 Towson University women’s lacrosse team was picked to repeat as Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) champions in 2017 while the Tigers’ Kaitlyn Montalbano was the unanimous CAA Preseason Player of the Year, according to a vote by the league’s seven head coaches.
Montalbano, who also earned Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-America Second Team honors, returns to lead the Tigers after earning All-CAA First Team and IWLCA First Team All Mid-Atlantic Region accolades last spring. Montalbano led the team with 36 goals and 23 assists for 59 points. She also contributed 43 draw controls, 17 caused turnovers and 27 ground balls.
Towson finished with 34 points and four first place votes while James Madison was one point behind in second place with 33 points and three first-place votes. Elon University was third followed by the University of Delaware in fourth. Rounding out the order of finish was Drexel University, Hofstra University and the College of William & Mary.
Towson is coming off a stellar 2016 season, in which they posted a 16-4 record, captured the CAA Championship with a victory over James Madison, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championship for the first time in program history. Including Montalbano, the Tigers had five Preseason All-CAA selections, including attack Natalie Sulmonte, midfielder Emily Gillingham, defender Tianna Wallpher and sophomore goalie Angie Benson. Sulmonte, the 2016 CAA Rookie of the Year, posted 22 goals and 37 draw controls. Benson was the second Tiger to have a breakout rookie campaign, finishing the season ranked fifth nationally in GAA (6.93). Gillingham was strong in the middle with 26 goals, 18 ground balls and 14 caused turnovers while Wallpher, an All-CAA First Team selection, caused 26 turnovers and came away with 33 ground balls.
James Madison had an impressive 2016 campaign as well, sharing the CAA Regular Season Championship title with Towson, and receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA Championship. The Dukes return their primary draw control specialist, Haley Warden, who earned Preseason All-America honorable mention. Warden tallied 52 draw controls, 33 ground balls and 19 caused turnovers along with 19 goals and 11 assists for 30 points. Joining Warden on the Preseason All-CAA squad were attack Leah Monticello and defender Rebecca Tooker. Monticello is back for her senior campaign after her 2016 season was cut short due to injury while Tooker started 18 games on the defensive end with 16 caused turnovers.
Elon went 10-7 overall, a 3-3 conference record and secured its first-ever spot in the CAA Championship one year ago. The Phoenix was led on attack by Preseason All-CAA selection Stephanie Asher and on defense by Preseason All-CAA goalie Rachel Ramirez. Asher earned All-CAA First Team honors as a sophomore after tallying 38 goals and three assists for 41 points. Ramirez, another All-CAA First Team pick, finished the year ranked 13th in the country in GAA (7.52) and eighth in ground balls per game (3.06).
Rounding out the Preseason All-CAA Team were senior defender Abby Junior and senior midfielder Shannon Quinn of William & Mary and attack Nadia Pelham-Lacey and defender Eva Winiarski of Drexel. Junior was second in the CAA in ground balls and finished 19th nationally in ground balls per game to earn All-CAA First Team honors while Quinn picked up Second Team honors with a team-best 36 goals. Pelham-Lacey posted 27 goals and 22 assists en route to All-CAA First Team honors last season while Winiarski earned a Second Team nod after tallying 22 caused turnovers, 21 ground balls and 41 draw controls.
The women’s lacrosse season will begin on February 4 with James Madison traveling to North Carolina, Towson hosting Stony Brook and Elon hosting Campbell. Drexel gets underway on February 5 at Duke. Three tams open their seasons on February 11 with William & Mary hosting Maryland, Delaware hosting Georgetown.
The CAA recently signed an agreement with the Lacrosse Sports Network to broadcast five women’s lacrosse during the 2017 regular season, in addition to the CAA Championship semifinals. The 2017 CAA Women’s Lacrosse Championship is set for the first week in May with semifinal action beginning on May 5 and the title contest slated for May 7, live on the American Sports Network. Both the semifinals and final will be hosted by Towson at Johnny Unitas® Stadium.
2017 PRESEASON ALL-CAA WOMEN’S LACROSSE TEAM
Name, School Pos. Cl. Hometown/High School
Stephanie Asher, Elon A Jr. Glenelg, Md./Glenelg
Leah Monticello, James Madison A Sr. Forest Hills, Md./North Harford
Nadia Pelham-Lacey, Drexel A Jr. Maplewood, N.J./Columbia
Natalie Sulmonte, Towson A So. Levittown, N.Y./Island Trees
Emily Gillingham, Towson M Jr. Kitchener, Ontario/The Hill Academy
Kaitlyn Montalbano, Towson M Jr. West Islip, N.Y./St. John the Baptist
Shannon Quinn, William & Mary M Sr. Wayne, Pa./Radnor
Haley Warden, James Madison M Jr. Glen Mills, Pa./Garnet Valley
Abby Junior, William & Mary D Sr. Wayne, Pa./Radnor
Rebecca Tooker, James Madison D Jr. Eastport, N.Y./Eastport South Manor
Tianna Wallpher, Towson D Jr. Ellicott City, Md./Mount Hebron
Eva Winiarski, Drexel D Sr. Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown West
Rachel Ramirez, Elon GK Sr. Lindenhurst, N.Y./Lindenhurst
Angie Benson, Towson GK So. Palm City, Fla./Martin County
Honorable Mention: Sloane Kessler (Elon, Sr., M), Coley Ricci (Garnet Valley/Delaware, Sr., M), Elena Romesburg (Central Bucks West/ James Madison, Jr., M), Jamie Schwartz (Delaware, Sr., A), Amanda Seekamp (Hofstra, Jr., M), Alexis Zadjura (Elon, Jr., M)
CAA WOMEN’S LACROSSE PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Kaitlyn Montalbano, Towson
2017 CAA WOMEN’S LACROSSE PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
1. Towson 34 (4)
2. James Madison 33 (3)
3. Elon 25
4. Delaware 21
5. Drexel 17
6. Hofstra 10
7. William & Mary 7