BUFFALO, NY – The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) announced the 2017 Women’s Lacrosse All-MAAC Teams and Major Award winners at the league’s annual Postseason Awards Show.
Fairfield University senior attacker Riley Hellstein was selected as the unanimous MAAC Women’s Lacrosse Offensive Player of Year. Canisius College junior midfield Erica Evans earned her third-consecutive MAAC Midfielder of the Year award (second-straight unanimous honor). Niagara University junior defender Alexandra Higgins claimed MAAC Defender of the Year.
Marist College goalkeeper Abigail Witczak earned the MAAC Goalkeeper of the Year award, while Siena College freshman midfielder Alexis Deaken secured MAAC Rookie of the Year. Canisius College head coach Scott Teeter was named the BSN Sports MAAC Coach of the Year for the third year in a row, and the fourth time overall.
Hellstein recorded 66 points (51 goals, 15 assists), 27 draw controls, 23 ground balls, and 23 caused turnovers for Fairfield this season. The Feeding Hills, MA native ranked second in the MAAC in goals per game (3.40), third in goals scored, second in points per game (4.40), fourth in total points, tied for first in game-winning goals (4), and second in free-position goals (18).
She was a unanimous selection to the All-MAAC First Team at attack and was named MAAC Offensive Player of the Week twice this season (February 27 & March 27). Hellstein is the sixth Stag in program history to earn the MAAC Offensive Player of the Year honor, and the first since Chloe Mangan did so in 2011.
Evans finished the regular season as the league’s leading scorer with 91 points (66 goals, 25 assists). The junior tied her own MAAC single-season record with 91 total points and became Canisius’ all-time leading goals scorer as she surpassed Megan Oosting and Tori Quinn on April 5. Her 66 goals are tied for the second-most in the NCAA, she ranks second in the nation in goals per game (3.88), and tied for third in points. She leads the MAAC in ground balls (60) and ranks second in caused turnovers (39).
The Peterborough, Ontario native was a unanimous selection to the All-MAAC First Team at midfield and captured the Midfielder of the Year award for the third-straight season. She was named the unanimous Midfielder of the Year the last two years. Evans took home MAAC Offensive Player of the Week honors four times this season (March 13, April 3, April 10, and May 1). Evans was named a Tewaaraton Award semifinalist on April 28.
Niagara’s Higgins claimed the MAAC Defender of the Year award. She finished the regular season ranked within the top-five of the conference in several major defensive statistics. The junior was second in draw controls (111), and draw controls per game (6.17), tied for second in ground balls (55), third in caused turnovers (35), and third in ground balls per game (3.06). Her season totals for ground balls, draw controls, and caused turnovers are all single-season program records at Niagara. Higgins is the first Purple Eagle to earn a MAAC Women’s Lacrosse major award, since Miko Daluisio was named Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2005. The Hamburg, NY native was also named to the All-MAAC First Team at defender as a unanimous selection.
Marist’s Abigail Witczak posted 10 wins in net for the Red Foxes and had a league-best .510 save percentage to close out the 2017 regular season. The senior is atop the league in saves (205) and saves per game (11.39). She has the third-best goals against average in the conference (10.92) and is tied for the sixth-most ground balls (43). Witczak earned a spot on the All-MAAC First Team at goalkeeper and was a three-time MAAC Defensive Player of the Week (March 27, April 10, April 24).
Alexis Deaken is the second Saint in program history to be named MAAC Women’s Lacrosse Rookie of the Year and the first since Michelle Eide in 2004. Deaken tallied 39 goals on the season, which are tied for the fifth-most in the conference and the most amongst rookies. The freshman scored a MAAC-high 19 free-position goals this season. The Orangeville, Ontario native is a four-time MAAC Rookie of the Week award winner (February 27, March 27, April 10, April 17).
For the third consecutive season and fourth time overall, Canisius’ head coach Scott Teeter earned the BSN Sports MAAC Women’s Lacrosse Coach of the Year. Teeter guided the Griffs to their third-consecutive MAAC Regular Season Title and the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Championship. Canisius finished the regular season (13-4, 8-0 MAAC) and are currently on a 10-game winning streak that dates to March 8. The Griffs lead the league in goals (266), goals per game (15.65), assists (124), assists per game (7.29), points (390), points per game (22.94), shot percentage (.525), and shots on goal (400). Canisius has earned non-conference victories over Oregon, Binghamton, Delaware, Duquesne, and Michigan this season.
Over the past three seasons Canisius is a perfect (24-0) in conference play dating to 2014. As the number one seed, the Griffs host the 2017 MAAC Women’s Lacrosse Championship from the Demske Sports Complex in Buffalo, NY. Canisius has won the MAAC Women’s Lacrosse Championship five out of the last six seasons (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016).
The 2017 All-MAAC First Team features Canisius’ Tessa Chad, Fairfield’s Hellstein (unanimous selection), Marist’s Olivia Pitonzo, and Niagara’s Rachel MacCheyne at attack. Followed by Canisius’ Evans (unanimous), Fairfield’s Alex Fehmel, and Monmouth’s Caroline Corbliss at midfield. The team’s defenders are Canisius’ Brenna Shanahan, Fairfield’s Erin Mammele, Niagara’s Higgins (unanimous), and Quinnipiac’s Kiera Kelly. Rounding out the team in net is Marist’s Abigail Witczak.
The All-MAAC Second Team consists of Canisius’ Jourdan Roemer and Lauren Smolensky, Fairfield’s Brenna Connolly, and Siena’s Michelle Schwartz at attack. The midfield is made up of Canisius’ Ashley Bull and Jen Reininger, Marist’s Hailey Wagner, and Niagara’s Jill Ford. At defense is Iona’s Gabby Di Domizio, Manhattan’s Emma Kaishian, Marist’s Gabby Childrose, and Monmouth’s Monica Cortes. In net is Canisius’ goalkeeper Rebecca VanLaeken.
The All-Rookie Team features Canisius’ Rachel Ryan, Fairfield’s Kelly Foley, Manhattan’s Emily Sandford and Hailey Siemek, Marist’s Julia Luff and Samantha Mehalick (unanimous). From Monmouth Nicole Ceraso (unanimous) and Megan Hart, Niagara’s Audrey Fithall (unanimous) and Lauren Paul (unanimous) join the team. Rounding out the team are Quinnipiac’s Ashley Bobinski (unanimous) and Haley Everding, Siena’s Deaken (unanimous) and Julia Sardella. Seven student-athletes were unanimous selections to the All-Rookie Team.
For all information on the 2017 MAAC Women’s Lacrosse Championship, visit maacsports.com/womenslaxand be sure to follow the action on social media by using #MAACLAX.
Tickets can be purchased for the MAAC Women’s Lacrosse Championship by visiting maac.ticketleap.com.
All-MAAC First Team
All-MAAC Second Team
Gabriella Di Domizio
Offensive Player of the Year
Riley Hellstein, Fairfield University*
Defender of the Year
Alexandra Higgins, Niagara
Midfielder of the Year
Erica Evans, Canisius College*
Goalkeeper of the Year
Abigail Witczak, Marist College
Rookie of the Year
Alexis Deaken, Siena College
BSN Sports Coach of the Year
Scott Teeter, Canisius College
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