West Babylon, N.Y. – After winning each of the past three East Coast Conference Women's Lacrosse Championships, LIU Post has been selected by the conference's coaches as the favorite to win the league title once again in 2018. Mercy junior mdifielder, Hunter Isnardi (Hicksville, N.Y.) has been named the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while LIU Post senior goalkeeper Oliva Kirk (Farmingdale, N.Y.) takes home the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year award.
LIU Post earned five of nine first place votes to top the poll with 77 points. The Pioneers, who finished the 2017 campaign with a 16-3 record, won their third straight ECC Championship and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Championship in 2017. LIU Post also begins the season ranked No. 6 in the Nike/US Lacrosse Division II Preseason Poll.
Mercy and NYIT are next up in the poll behind LIU Post. Mercy comes in at No. 2 with 71 points and three first place votes. The Mavericks put together the most successful season in program history a year ago, finishing with a 16-4 record while also advancing to the ECC Championship final and earning the program's first-ever NCAA Championship berth. NYIT, who earned the final first place vote and comes in at No. 3 with 65 points, made it a trio of ECC women's lacrosse teams that earned NCAA Championship berths in 2017, doing so with a 16-4 record in the program's inaugural season.
The ECC Women's Lacrosse Championship bracket expands to six teams this season, meaning No. 4 Molloy, No. 5 Roberts Wesleyan, and No. 6 St. Thomas Aquinas round out the expected playoff teams.
Isnardi earns the preseason honor after capturing the ECC Offensive Player of the Year award last season. As a sophomore, the midfielder scored 71 goals and added eight assists for 78 points on the season. Her goal total was good for 3.55 goals per game, which ranked 17th in Division II. Isnardi was unstoppable on draw controls as well, snagging an NCAA Division II single-season record 182 on the season. She also ranked second in the country with 9.1 draw controls per game. In addition to the Offensive Player of the Year honor, her outstanding season earned her a spot on the ECC All-Conference, IWLCA All-North Region, and IWLCA All-America First Teams.
Kirk earns the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year accolade after winning both ECC and IWLCA Division II Goalkeeper of the Year honors for the second straight season. In 2017, the two-time First Team All-American compiled a 16-3 record in the cage. She accumulated 138 saves on the season to post a save percentage of .543 and a goals against average of 6.42. Her save percentage led Division II for the second straight year while the goals against average mark ranked fourth in the nation.
2018 ECC Women's Lacrosse Preseason Poll
|School||Pts.||Last Year's Record|
|1. LIU Post (5)||77||16-3 (8-0 ECC)|
|2. Mercy (3)||71||16-4 (6-2 ECC)|
|3. NYIT (1)||65||15-4 (7-1 ECC)|
|4. Molloy||55||10-5 (4-4 ECC)|
|5. Roberts Wesleyan||43||7-11 (4-4 ECC)|
|6. St. Thomas Aquinas||36||5-11 (3-5 ECC)|
|7. Bridgeport||31||9-6 (3-5 ECC)|
|8. Queens||17||3-12 (1-7 ECC)|
|9. Dist. Columbia||10||1-11 (0-8 ECC)|
( ) - first place votes
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Hunter Isnardi, Jr., M, Mercy
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Olivia Kirk, Sr., GK, LIU Post