After winning three straight East Coast Conference championships, Molloy College softball coach Susan Cassidy-Lyke entered this season with three main thoughts about her squad:
1. This is a whole different team.
2. Good hitting would be a big factor in success.
3. After graduating two top pitchers, the team would be led by new ones.
At the close of the regular season, the offense has been consistently excellent and the pitching seems to be peaking at the right time. Winners of three straight games, Molloy (28-20-1, 20-7-1) will play Queens College in an ECC semifinal at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at LIU Post.
The Lions have five hitters with at least a .350 batting average, including Milan Botte, who is hitting .410 with 12 homers and 49 RBIs.
"We kind of knew that we needed our hitting to be what it is," Cassidy-Lyke said. "The funny thing is that they discussed it with themselves. They knew it, too."
After struggling a bit early this season, freshman Chelsea Hawks, a Shoreham-Wading River graduate, is Molloy's top hurler with a 13-8 record and 3.07 ERA. She has 119 strikeouts in 1501/3 innings and has allowed only 35 walks.
"I think just being more confident in her pitches has helped," Cassidy-Lyke said. "I think there was an adjustment period for her, but she's been able to be pretty successful and we're hoping it's all coming around at the right time."
Sileo a Tewaaraton nominee
LIU Post senior attack Jackie Sileo, who broke the NCAA women's lacrosse record for most points all-time April 2, has been nominated for the 2014 Tewaaraton Award and is the only representative from the Division II level.
The Tewaaraton Award is presented annually to the top collegiate men's and women's lacrosse player in the country. Sileo is one of 27 female players nominated. The winners will be announced May 29.
Sileo, who was selected the East Coast Conference preseason player of the year, finished with 127 points (47 goals, 80 assists) in the regular season. Her point and assist totals lead Division II players.
LIU Post, which has won two straight NCAA Division II national championships, hosts Molloy College at 3 p.m. Thursday in an ECC semifinal.
Honors for NYIT men's lacrosse
Luke Miller and Danny McDermott did it again. Only this time they have company.
Both NYIT men's lacrosse players won major East Coast Conference awards for the second straight season. Miller, a Floyd graduate and a junior attack, was named ECC player of the year and McDermott, a senior, earned ECC defensive player of the year.
NYIT freshman Alex Seltzer (Plainview JFK) won both goalkeeper and rookie of the year honors. NYIT's Bill Dunn shared the coach of the year award with Dowling's Tim Boyle.
Miller ranks second in all of Division II in scoring, averaging 5.33 points per game. He scored 34 goals and has an ECC-leading 47 assists. McDermott anchored a defense that ranks fourth in Division II, allowing only 7.0 goals per game. Seltzer's 6.62 goals against average and .616 save percentage are tops in the conference.