West Babylon, N.Y. – The women's lacrosse coaches of the East Coast Conference have predicted LIU Post will win a fifth straight conference title in 2019 with the Pioneers overwhelmingly selected to the top spot in the league's preseason poll. Seniors Hunter Isnardi (Hicksville, N.Y.) and Talia Stagnitta (Patchogue, N.Y.), both from Mercy College, have been selected as the ECC Preseason Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year, respectively.
After winning their fourth straight ECC title in 2018, LIU Post starts the 2019 campaign by earning seven of nine first place votes to top the poll with 79 points. The Pioneers also begins the season ranked No. 7 in the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Division II Preseason Poll. LIU Post also has a stacked roster with eight of their nine All-Conference honorees from last year, including First Team picks Brianna Feldman, Alyssa Mallery, Paige Sherlock, and Carly Spano, back in the fold.
Mercy, ECC runner-up each of the past two seasons, received the final two first place votes to come in second in the poll with 74 points. NYIT is third with 63 points and is followed by Molloy in fourth with 50 points. Roberts Wesleyan, an ECC Championship participant each of the past two seasons is fifth with 46 points. Bridgeport rounds out the expected conference tournament participants at sixth with 35 points.
Isnardi earns the preseason honor after a historic 2018 season. During her junior campaign, Isnardi found the back of the cage an ECC and Division II-leading 97 times and added nine assists for 106 points on the season. Her goal total not only led the country, but was the second-highest single-season mark in Division II history. Isnardi also etched her name in the NCAA record book with 214 draw controls and 11.89 draw controls per game, both new Division II single-season records. On top of that, she also led all of Division II with 5.39 goals per game and a free position percentage of 79.2. For her outstanding play, Isnardi was named the ECC Midfielder of the Year, an IWLCA All-America First Team selection, and the IWLCA Division II Midfielder of the Year. In addition, if Isnardi can repeat her 2018 output, she will be on milestone watch once again this season. With 211 career goals heading into 2019, she sits 89 goals away from breaking the Division II record of 299.
While Isnardi is a standout on the offensive end of the field, her teammate Stagnitta is nearly as decorated for her defensive prowess. Stagnitta earned her second straight All-America honor as an IWLCA First Team selection in 2018. Also the ECC Defender of the Year, Stagnitta compiled 50 ground balls, 33 caused turnovers, and 61 draw controls on the season. Her caused turnover mark was second in the ECC, while her ground ball total ranked fifth.
2019 ECC Women's Lacrosse Preseason Poll
|School||Pts.||Last Year's Record|
|1. LIU Post (7)||79||14-6 (8-0 ECC)|
|2. Mercy (2)||74||14-4 (7-1 ECC)|
|3. NYIT||63||14-5 (6-2 ECC)|
|4. Molloy||50||11-8 (5-3 ECC)|
|5. Roberts Wesleyan||46||9-9 (3-5 ECC)|
|6. Bridgeport||35||6-9 (3-5 ECC)|
|7. St. Thomas Aquinas||30||6-10 (3-5 ECC)|
|8. Queens||19||5-11 (1-7 ECC)|
|9. Dist. Columbia||9||1-13 (0-8 ECC)|
( ) - first place votes
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Hunter Isnardi, Sr., M, Mercy
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Talia Stagnitta, Sr., D, Mercy