YORK, Pa. – The Capital Athletic Conference announced its women's lacrosse all-conference teams on Monday afternoon, and the No. 8 Salisbury University women's lacrosse team was well represented, highlighted by freshman Gianna Falcone and Head Coach Jim Nestor grabbing two of the top honors.
Falcone was awarded Rookie of the Year for her outstanding play in the cage for the season, while Nestor earned Coach of the Year for the third-consecutive year, 11th of his career. Falcone also made her way onto first team, joined by senior Kara O'Rourke and junior Megan Wallenhorst. Seniors Kate Haker, Bethany Baer and Anna Sparr were placed on second team to land six conference all-stars, tied for the lead with Christopher Newport University.
It has been quite a season for Falcone in her first year as a Sea Gull, maintaining a perfect 14-0 record of the 16 games played in the net. Turning away 76 shots, the Florham Park, New Jersey native possesses a 55.9 save percentage, ranking her third in the nation. In her first career start against York College of Pennsylvania, Falcone made 11 saves to set a new milestone in her career before erasing that tally against the State University of New York at Brockport the following game with 12. More impressively, she has only allowed 60 balls into the back of the net in her 732 minutes, setting her goals-against average at 4.92, the best mark in the country.
O'Rourke has pieced together a great senior season on the offensive third, sending out a career-high 46 assists to go along with 13 goals for 59 points. The 46 helpers gives her the clear lead in the conference, 22 more than the second-place holder, while placing her 13th in the country. In eight of the 17 games played in so far this season, O'Rourke has finished with at least three assists, including a career-high six against the University of Mary Washington. The 59 points also lands her fourth in the league. The Ellicott City, Maryland native is making her first appearance on the all-conference team, while earning her first Player of the Week accolade for the CAC earlier this season.
Wallenhorst is also grabbing her first All-CAC accolade, while tabbing CAC Offensive Player of the Week and ECAC Offensive Player of the Week at the end of March. The junior attacker has found the back of the net a career-high 33 times so far this season, the best on the team, while sending out 19 helpers for 52 points. The Ellicott City, Maryland native has set a new career high in points for a single game three times so far this season, hitting six against the State University of New York at Cortland before registering seven against Mary Washington. The new milestone was set against St. Mary's College of Maryland with nine points off four goals and five assists.
Haker joins O'Rourke and Wallenhorst at the attack position, making her first appearance as well on the all-star team. The senior captain sits second on the squad with 28 goals, while adding 13 assists for 41 points. Of the 28 finishes, a team-high five have been off free-position shots. The Westminster, Maryland native has also taken the most shots on the team with 46, but has also more impressively put 42 on target for a .913 shots-on-goal percentage.
Baer is earning all-conference for the third time in her career, being placed on first team the last two years. Missing a bulk of the season due to injury, the five games the senior midfielder has played in have proved her good enough for recognition this year. Honored as Lacrosse Magazine's Preseason Player of the Year, the Westminster, Maryland native has found the back of the net 12 times and added three assists for 15 points. In three of the five contests, she was leading scorer for the game with a hat trick against York and Mary Washington and four finishes against Stevenson University.
Sparr has put together a career season for her final year with the Sea Gulls, making her first appearance on All-CAC teams. The senior defender has set new milestones in caused turnovers and ground balls so far this season with 15 and 19, respectively. The 15 forced turnovers are tied for the best on the squad. The Lexington Park, Maryland native is a key contributor in a Sea Gull defense that is having another incredible year. The backline currently maintains a 5.46 goals-against average, good enough for third best in the nation and top in the CAC. With 94 goals given up through 17 games, the defense has held league opponents to just 25. York's defense comes in second in league play, giving up twice as many at 50.
In his 14th season at the helm, Nestor has assembled quite a resume with the women's lacrosse program. The all-time winningest coach in CAC history with an 89-2 tally, including an all-time Division III record 86-game winning streak, Nestor has guided the Gulls to 13-consecutive league titles. During his tenure, he has coached five CAC Players of the Year, two CAC Rookies of the Year and 87 All-CAC student athletes. On the national level, Nestor has been recognized as Coach of the Year four times while bringing to the Eastern Shore the program's three national titles.
The squad now gears up for the NCAA tournament in search of a three-peat as national champion. The road starts with Hamilton College on Sunday, May 10 at Sea Gull Stadium in a second-round matchup. First draw is set for 1 p.m.
To view the full All-CAC selection, click here.