April 15, 2010

Molloy Seniors Look to Finish Strong in ECC

by Chris Gentilviso | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online

Monmouth transfer Kristie Sosnowski is the top draw specialist in Division II and part of a triot of Molloy seniors who have the Lions making legitimate noise in the ECC.

The closer you get to the finish line, the stronger you finish.

Scan the class column of Molloy’s 29-woman roster, and youth jumps off the page. Twelve freshmen joined in 2010, itching for an opportunity to make their mark.

Right now, their time to be stars is on hold. The Lions’ trio of senior captains is busy driving the team to its best start in program history.

“They're finally reaping all the blood, sweat and tears that they put in over the past three years,” said head coach Tom Campolettano of the five girls in the senior class. “It's finally coming to fruition.”

In Molloy’s five seasons of women’s lacrosse, the program’s best win total was 10 back in 2007-08. With a win at Chestnut Hill on Saturday, the Lions will already tie that mark.

Behind seniors Rebecca LaFlare, Lori Sollitto and Kristie Sosnowski, Molloy (9-2, 1-1 ECC) has one of the most balanced attacks in Division II this season. Each has registered at least 25 goals, inching their way to the top of the school record book.

“When all is said and done, they're going to be the three all-time leading scorers in Molloy history when they graduate,” Campolettano said. “I can't imagine what those numbers will look like at the end.”

For that senior trio, the inevitable end to their college careers has pushed them to extend those record-setting heights to the entire team. A year ago, Sollitto established herself as a top force on the Lions’ attack, netting 40 points (30g, 10a) in 16 games.

Ten games into her senior season, the Wantagh, N.Y. native is on the verge of shattering that mark, already with 36 points (25g, 11a).

"It's knowing that it's my last season,” Sollitto said. “I'm trying to go all out and I want the team to be the best that we can be. Every game, I just want that win and I try to do whatever I can to get it.”

The chance to grasp those wins has been exponentially easier with the nation’s top force on draws. Since transferring from Monmouth College, Sosnowski has owned the No. 1 title in that department in Division II.

On pace to match or better her 130 draw controls from a year ago, the wily senior has her secrets.

“I adapt to the girl that I'm going against,” Sosnowski said. “Sometimes, it takes me a couple of tries. But once I realize how I can beat her, that's how I keep it up for the rest of the game.”

The rest of the roster has followed Sosnowski’s suit, leading to more victories. A year ago, the Lions were crippled by close losses, sporting a 1-4 record in games decided by two goals or less.

This season, Molloy is 3-0 in those spots, thanks to a plus-22 scoring margin in the second half of play. That early effort pays off on the schedule, as the Lions finish the 2010 campaign with five straight conference games.

That “finish strong” attitude has Campolettano’s team right in the thick of the East Coast Conference race.

“Last year, it seemed like we would fall off in the second half,” he said. “We've really had that instinct to go for it this year. Everybody's still pushing.”

Division II News & Notes

On the men’s side, aftershocks from C.W. Post’s loss to Dowling were felt in the USILA weekly poll. The Pioneers (10-1) fell to No. 4, while the Lions (8-1), who were previously tied for fifth, rose to No. 3 in the rankings. A huge force behind that Dowling win was goalkeeper Ryan Dougherty. The sophomore stopped 13 shots in the 8-7 victory, including three in the fourth quarter, leading to the honor of ECC Goalkeeper of the Week … After weekend wins over No. 10 Merrimack and Wheeling Jesuit, respectively, No. 1 Le Moyne and No. 2 Mercyhurst are the lone unbeatens in Division II. With the C.W. Post loss, Mercyhurst (9-0, 6-0 ECC) is now in sole possession of first place in the conference.


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