Sileo's big game sends LIU Post past Limestone for consecutive national title
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Thanks to a seven-point effort by junior Jackie Sileo, LIU Post took down Limestone 10-7 to successfully defend its national championship and put the finishing touches on a perfect season.
For most of the first 45 minutes of the NCAA Division II women’s lacrosse national championship game between LIU Post and Limestone, it was anybody’s guess who was going to come out on top.
LIU Post tied the game at five with 17:39 remaining in the second half, and then went ahead on a goal by Jenna Pierro just 48 seconds later. With four more unanswered goals, LIU Post finally seemed ready to cruise.
Limestone bounced back with two goals within the final five minutes to pull within 10-7.
LIU Post’s victory gave the team a consecutive national championship and fourth in school history. With an overall record of 20-0, LIU Post is the first undefeated national championship in DII women’s lacrosse since Adelphi accomplished the feat in 2011.
After the game, LIU head coach Meghan McNamara seemed almost at a loss for words.
“Today is a great day,” she said. “[Limestone] put everything into the game. They were awesome. It was a fight to the end. I’m really proud this group. I’m proud of my team … my coaching staff. This is quite unreal, unbelievable.”
Somehow, all those dreary days on the practice and playing fields now seem worth the effort.
“All their heart, their passion, the dedication they put into all the snow and rainy days -- they remained a family,” McNamara said. “They became one this whole entire year. To see them finish strong and finish together is just amazing for me. We’re really, really happy to be the 2013 national champions.”
Leading 4-3 at the half, McNamara had belief in her squad.
“I said we were doing great,” she said. “We had to keep fighting. I said we had to just make a few adjustments and just to keep shooting. I was pretty positive. I was really pumped for them. We were working hard, and we just had to continue that.”
After one more score by Limestone at the beginning of the second half, the Pioneers had a streak of six unanswered goals. That turned the tide of the game for good.
“Our team knows what it takes to win,” McNamara said. “There was this one time out, and they just looked at each other and said, ‘This is ours.’ There was no turning back. You just knew the fight and the spirit in them. They were going to take it to them, and we went on that run. I knew it was ours.”
Sileo led the way for LIU Post with four goals and two assists.
“We had a game plan in place to kind of get a little bit of pressure on her,” Limestone head coach Scott Tucker said. “We do have a face guard within our zone defense that we work on a little bit. But, obviously, with a 16-hour turnaround, you don’t have an opportunity to work on it during the actual pregame.
“We did have a meeting and talked about some of the things we wanted to do. Early in the game, we were successful. It just kind of crumbled down a little bit toward the end.”
A key to LIU Post’s success in the second half was its draw control, with nine to its credit to just two for Limestone.
“Draw controls … that controls the possession of the game and the momentum,” McNamara said. “We knew all season that a lot was going to come down to our possession and how powerful we were going to be with receiving those draw controls. We worked really hard and we brought in one of our assistant coaches to get us pumped up and prepared for these draw controls.
“For us, it was one of our drives. That’s what we’re determined to do. We want that ball. Draw controls were definitely crucial. Obviously, it made a huge impact on this win.”