IWLCA Announces 2022 Coaches of the Year

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER


NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. — The IWLCA has named the 2022 National and Regional Coaches of the Year in Division I, II, and III. All three National Coaches of the Year led their teams to a National Title this past season. All winners will be honored at the IWLCA Convention scheduled for November 16-18, 2022 at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas.

DIVISION I IWLCA NATIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR

Jenny Levy, University of North Carolina

Jenny Levy led the Tar Heels to a storybook season in 2022, going 22-0 and winning North Carolina’s third NCAA championship. Carolina overcame an eight-goal deficit in the second half of the NCAA semifinal to beat Northwestern, then beat Boston College in a heart-stopping national title game. The Tar Heels made their 10th appearance at NCAA Championship Weekend in the last 13 years. Levy led UNC to her 13th Championship Weekend appearance, tied for most of any coach in history. Carolina posted the first undefeated season in program history and the first by any NCAA champion since 2017. Along the way, it won its sixth consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament while extending its ACC Tournament win streak to 18 and its regular season win streak to 40. Levy won the ACC Coach of the Year award for the seventh time (and third year in a row).

DIVISION II IWLCA NATIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR

James Delaney, University of Indianapolis

Delaney led the 22-1 Greyhounds to the Division II NCAA Championship with an 11-9 win over East Stroudsburg University. The Greyhounds collected eight IWLCA All-Region accolades and six All-American nods, with Abigail Lagos claiming IWLCA Attacker and Player of the Year honors. UIndy finished the season ranked No. 1 in the IWLCA/ILWomen Division II Poll.

DIVISION III IWLCA NATIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR

Kate Livesay, Middlebury College

Livesay, along with assistant coaches Dani Ellis and Amy Patton, led the Panthers to a perfect regular season (15-0, 10-0) and a victory over Amherst in the NESCAC Quarterfinals. Although Middlebury fell to Tufts in the NESCAC championship game, they avenged the loss in the NCAA tournament, defeating the Jumbos 13-5 to claim the 2022 NCAA Division III Championship. Livesay was tabbed NESCAC Coach of the Year for the sixth time in her career and contributes to an impressive 71-1 combined record for women’s stick sports at Middlebury (field hockey, ice hockey, lacrosse). Under the direction of Livesay, eight Panthers collected IWLCA All-Pilgrim region accolades and four were named IWLCA All-Americans this season, including Jane Earley, who was named the IWLCA Attacker of the Year and the National Player of the Year.







2022 IWLCA REGIONAL COACHES OF THE YEAR

Division I

Mid-Atlantic Region

Melissa Lehman, Rutgers University

Under Lehman’s guidance, Rutgers enjoyed its most successful season in school history with a program-record 16 victories, its second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, and the team’s first top-10 finish in the final IWLCA Coaches Poll (No. 10). The Scarlet Knights delivered wins over six ranked opponents during the 2022 campaign and advanced to their first-ever Big Ten Tournament title game with their victory over No. 4 Northwestern – the team’s first over the Wildcats and highest-ranked win in school history. Lehman was named 2022 Big Ten Coach of the Year after her team’s historic conference season, which included a school-record five All-Big Ten selections and the 2022 Big Ten Midfielder of the Year in Cassidy Spilis. RU advanced to the NCAA Tournament for just the third time in school history but for the second in three seasons with Lehman as head coach, as Rutgers muscled an opening-round victory over No. 23 Saint Joseph’s. Five Scarlet Knights earned All-America laurels, including three who landed on the IWLCA All-America squad. Rutgers also finished with four IWLCA All-Region picks for the second consecutive season and landed 26 student-athletes on the Academic All-Big Ten Team.

Northeast Region

Sarah Dalton Graddock, University of Vermont

Sarah Dalton Graddock guided Vermont to the first America East Championship in program history, with a program-best 14 wins in 2022. The Catamounts were only the third team in program history to reach double-digit wins, and the first since 2015. Second-seeded UVM rallied back from a five-goal deficit in the conference title game to secure their first ever NCAA Tournament berth. Under Dalton Graddock’s guidance, Carolyn Carrera and Ava Vasile received ILWomen All-America Honorable Mention – the first Catamounts in program history to earn the recognition. Vermont had one of the top defenses in 2022, ranking fourth nationally in caused turnovers per game (11.89) with Carrera averaging the second-most caused turnovers per game (2.89) in the nation.

South Region

Jenny Levy, University of North Carolina

See bio above.

West/Midwest Region

Liza Kelly, University of Denver

Liza Kelly led the Pioneers to an 18-3 overall record and a perfect 5-0 mark in Big East Conference play during the 2022 campaign. Denver has won 21 straight regular-season contests against conference foes dating back to 2018 and won its third-straight Big East regular-season championship last year. The Pioneers also captured their second-consecutive Big East Tournament title in 2022 (third such trophy in program history, MPSF 2014) and has now reached the NCAA Tournament in each of the past four seasons, making it to at least the second round each time. DU started the year on a six-game winning streak, the longest stretch in program history, and the Pioneers went 7-1 on the road during the year—with its only loss coming at No. 3 Boston College in the NCAA Tournament Second Round. Kelly, who leads the team’s defense, saw the Pioneers allow just 8.38 goals per game, the fifth-best mark in the NCAA during the season. In caused turnovers, Denver was first in the nation with 273, averaging 13.0 per game—second best in the country. DU also ranked fifth in the NCAA with 393 ground balls, with an 18.71 average per contest (15th). Denver was recognized with the 2022 Big East Coaching Staff of the Year Award, marking the second time that the Pioneers earned the honor. Overall, DU had two All-Americans and eight players named to the All-Big East Teams.

Division II

Atlantic Region

Xeni Barakos-Yoder, East Stroudsburg University

East Stroudsburg women’s lacrosse has continued to soar to new heights as seventh year head coach Xeni Barakos-Yoder guided the Warriors to the program’s first national championship appearance with a 20-2 record this season. An ESU alumna, Barakos-Yoder has helped her alma mater reach the NCAA Tournament in five consecutive seasons (its only five appearances) and ESU has advanced to the NCAA Semifinals in three of the last four seasons. In 2022, ESU set school records for wins in a season (20, prev. was 17 in 2017), matched its longest winning streak of 11 and won PSAC (2nd in ESU history) and NCAA DII Atlantic Region championships (2nd consecutive, third in ESU history). Among NCAA Division II programs, Barakos-Yoder helped the Warrior defense to rank first in ground balls per game, third in caused turnovers per game, sixth in scoring defense and eighth in scoring margin. Under her leadership, ESU boasted a program best five IWLCA All-Americans, six all-region honorees and six All-PSAC honors. Through seven seasons, Barakos-Yoder sports a 95-25 record, and trails all-time wins leader Sandy Miller by just 11 wins in 13 less seasons. Her .792 winning percentage is the best in program-history by a land slide, with Carole Mushier (1963-67, 14-13) as the only other coach in ESU’s 58-year history with an above .500 winning percentage.

East Region

Kate Conover, Stonehill College

Conover, the Northeast-10 Conference Coach of the Year, led the Skyhawks, picked to finish ninth in the NE10 preseason coaches' poll, to an 18-3 record overall, including 12-1 in the NE10 to win the Conference’s regular season championship for a record 12th time, adding a record tenth NE10 Tournament title with a 13-12 win over then No. 11 and third-seeded Le Moyne College in the title game. Stonehill earned a ninth NCAA Tournament bid and the top seed for the NCAA East Regional. Stonehill is ranked No. 5 in the final IWLCA/ILWomen Division II poll of the year and Coach Conover became the first NE10 women’s lacrosse coach to surpass 200 career wins with the Skyhawks 19-2 win at American International College on March 23. Stonehill boasted the top attack in the NE10, scoring 17.05 goals per game, to rank sixth nationally in Division II, while also leading the NE10 with 18.43 draw controls per game (4th nationally), and ranking fourth in the NE10 with 10.71 caused turnovers per game and third with 19.14 ground balls per game. Three Skyhawks earned IWLCA All-America honors and five were named to the IWLCA All-East Region teams, while seven collected All-NE10 honors, Midfielder of the Year and Attacker of the Year, with Conover being named Coach of the Year.

Midwest Region

James Delaney, University of Indianapolis

See bio above.

South Region

Clare Short, Queens University

Clare Short earned her 100th career win with the Royals this season en route to Queens posting a 21-1 record making the 2022 season the winningest in program history. Queens finished the regular season undefeated for the first time in program history and went on to repeat as SAC Champions and South Region Champions before falling in the NCAA DII Women’s Lacrosse National Semifinals. It was Queens’ third straight season reaching the final four. The Royals were also ranked No. 1 in the ILWomen/IWLCA Poll for the first time in program history, holding the top spot for eight straight weeks. Following the season, five Royals earned All-American honors and Grace Guglielmo was named IWLCA DII Defender of the Y@queenear. The Royals closed the year ranked fourth nationally with the top-ranked scoring offense and scoring margin in DII. Additionally, Queens led the country in draw controls per game.

Division III

Berkshire Region

Anne Versprille, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Despite not competing in 2021, Versprille led MIT to a 12-5 record and an 8-1 NEWMAC ledger, resulting in a three-way tie for first place. As the No. 3 seed, the Engineers advanced to the NEWMAC Tournament semifinal for the fifth time during Versprille's six-year tenure. MIT led the conference in assists (121), goals per game (16.29), and goals against (162), ranked second in goals (277), draw controls per game (15.82), and goals against average (9.52), and fourth in draw controls (269). The Engineers went undefeated in April and put together a nine-game winning streak, which tied the program record for consecutive wins. Versprille was named the 2022 NEWMAC Coach of the Year and three players were selected to the IWLCA All-Region Second Team, including NEWMAC Rookie of the Year Sydney Pyon.

Boardwalk Region

Sharon Pfluger, The College of New Jersey

Pfluger was named NJAC Coach of the Year after guiding the Lions to another undefeated league campaign. Her 555 career wins are the most in NCAA history at any level and she also ranks near the top at all levels for career winning percentage. Under her guidance, TCNJ has won 10 NCAA Division III Championships, six NCAA runner-up finishes, and seven third-place finishes. Her teams have qualified for the NCAA Tournament in each of her first 35 seasons, remarkably making it to at least the Elite Eight round every season. Since lacrosse was introduced as an NJAC sport in 2009, Pfluger has led the Lions to 11 conference championships out of the 12 won in the league.

Chesapeake Region

Jim Nestor, Salisbury University

Boasting one of the toughest schedules in the country this season, Jim Nestor and the Salisbury coaching staff earned their second consecutive Coast-to-Coast Athletic Coaching Staff of the Year honor. Salisbury defeated eight ranked teams, four of which were top-10 wins. The Sea Gulls went 2-0 in C2C play, outscoring opponents 36-14 in those two games and finished the regular season at 14-2. Jim Nestor was also named the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Coach of the Year.

Empire Region

Anne Phillips, William Smith College

Phillips guided the Herons to an 18-2 record and their sixth consecutive Liberty League title in 2022. Entering the year, William Smith needed to replace half of its starting lineup, including the two-time Liberty League Defensive Player of the Year. With an infusion of youth, the Herons rattled off four straight wins to start the year. After falling to then No. 1 Salisbury, William Smith won 14 straight games, advancing to the third round of the NCAA tournament. The 18 wins this year are the second most in a season in program history. Herons were 10-0 in Liberty League play. Phillips’ charges earned a league- high six All-Liberty League honors including the Liberty League Offensive Player of the Year and The Rookie of the Year. The Herons finished the year sixth in the nation in winning percentage, 14th in scoring defense (7.45 gpg) 17th in scoring margin (+8.55) and 19th in assists per game (7.80).

Great Lakes Region

Kate Robinson, University of Chicago
Head coach Kate Robinson continued UChicago’s upward trajectory as the Maroons qualified for the NCAA postseason for the second-straight season in the program’s fourth year as a varsity sport. The Maroons posted an 18-2 overall record, reached the NCAA Round of 16 and finished the season ranked No. 16 in the IWLCA national poll. The team made a perfect run through the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW), going 8-0 against conference opponents to grab both the regular season and conference tournament titles. Robinson was subsequently named CCIW Coach of the Year. The Maroons tallied nine All-CCIW selections and six All-Region honorees. The offense and defense were both nationally-elite units, ranking 10th in scoring offense (17.5 goals/game), seventh in scoring defense (6.55 goals/game), seventh in scoring margin (+10.95/game), seventh in points (26.8/game) and 15th in draw controls (17.3/game).

Metro Region

Carole Cantele, Gettysburg College

Cantele was named the Centennial Conference Coach of the Year for the third time in her career with the other awards coming in 2013 and 2015. Despite playing a schedule that included eight-straight games against nationally-ranked teams, Gettysburg continued to hold its status as one of the premier teams across the country. The Bullets posted 10 consecutive wins and owned a 16-3 overall record before entering the NCAA Tournament. Cantele led Gettysburg to a perfect conference regular season (9-0) and the Bullets captured the CC championship on their home turf with a win over F&M. Gettysburg advanced to the NCAA semifinals before falling to the eventual champions Middlebury. Cantele completed her 30th and final season at the helm with a 443-114 (.795) career record at Gettysburg.

Pilgrim Region

Kate Livesay

See bio above.

West Region

Sarah Queener, Pomona-Pitzer Colleges

Sarah Queener led her staff to SCIAC Coaching Staff of the Year honors with assistants Brian Eisenberg and Sylvia Queener. Queener's Sagehens finished first in the SCIAC with an undefeated record of 15-0 and 12-0 in SCIAC play. The Sagehens earned the SCIAC Regular Season Title and reached the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Championship before concluding its 2022 campaign with a 18-1 overall record.

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