Wildcats Lock Up NEAC Tournament Bid with 18-5 Win on Senior Day
MARCY, N.Y. – Steady rain couldn't cool the Wildcat offense Saturday, as the team celebrated Senior Day with an 18-5 victory over Wells. With a record of 5-3 in conference, the Wildcats sewed up a bid in the upcoming NEAC Tournament.
Prior to the game SUNYIT honored its four seniors Shelby Parker, Thalia Irizarry, Brittani Howell, and Taviot Jackowski. Parker is a two-year player for the team and has stepped up to play big minutes for the Wildcats this season. Irizarry has been with the program since its inception in 2012, while Howell ranks third on this year's team in groundballs while making headlines off the field by recently winning the prestigious SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence, one of just two SUNYIT selections. Finally, a player that has been much publicized not only for her work on the turf but also for a stellar volleyball career (she was named to the All-NEAC 1st Team this past fall), Jackowski leads SUNYIT in assists and is second in draw controls. Also an excellent student, she completed her undergraduate degree in just 3 years and returns this year as a SUNYIT MBA candidate.
SUNYIT's underclassmen, ironically, would steal the show almost immediately after the pre-game ceremony. Rookie Nicole DiPiazza (Colonie, N.Y. / Colonie) scored the first three goals of the game, then handed it off to fellow rookie Emma Larson (Miller Place, N.Y. / Miller Place), who scored the fourth. In all, Larson and DiPiazza combined to score all of SUNYIT's first 6 goals, as the Wildcats jumped out to a 6-1 lead with 16:19 still to go in the first half.
The Wildcats would go on to extend the lead to 11-1 heading into the half, effectively putting the game away as the second half would feature more of the same.
DiPiazza finished the game with a season-high 7 goals, and moved into the top spot on SUNYIT with 37 scores on the season. The active freshman also picked up 5 groundballs and 3 draw controls, while causing 3 turnovers on the defensive end.
Larson would go on to finish with 3 goals on the game, and the senior Taviot Jackowski (LaFayette, N.Y. / LaFayette) turned in her usual solid performance, netting 2 goals while picking up 4 groundballs and generally directing traffic for the Wildcats on offense.
The other big game for the Wildcats offensively came from Laura Tolbert (Clay, N.Y. / Cicero-North Syracuse). Last year's NEAC Rookie of the Year, Tolbert has been forced to miss several games due to injury and class conflicts stemming from her clinical obligations as a nursing major. The 5-1 midfielder didn't exhibit much rust on Saturday, however, recording a pair of goals to go along with a team-high 3 assists and team-second-best 4 draw controls. Tolbert trailed only Tierney McGlynn (Watervliet, N.Y. / Watervliet) in the latter category, as the speedy defender tallied 6 draw controls, 6 groundballs, and 5 caused turnovers – all team-highs.
The Wildcats will finish out the regular season with a home game tomorrow against NEAC top-seed Keuka College. The game is slated for 1:00 pm.