WILA Defensive Player of the Year Stillwagon highlights ASC honorees
Damico earns second team accolades, eight Grizzlies tabbed HM
ALAMOSA, Colo. – Adams State sophomore defender Jordan Stillwagon (Littleton, Colo.) was one of just three unanimous First Team All-Western Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (WILA) selections and garnered the league’s Defensive Player of the Year recognition after leading the Grizzlies to a 5-win season, it was announced Friday.
Post-season WILA awards were selected by a vote of the association’s head coaches and Sports Information Directors after the receipt of coaches’ nominations. First and second team units were selected by position, and 12-member teams include three attacks, three midfielder, three defenders, a goalie, a midfielder/faceoff specialist and a long stick midfielder. Players that received votes but were not named to the first or second team were given honorable mention status.
Other Grizzly honorees from the league included second team attack selection Anthony Damico (Littleton, Colo.), and honorable mention selections Bryden Pelletier (Lantzville, B.C., Canada) and Kevin Bertrand (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) at attack; Josh Peterman (Santa Ana, Calif.) and Parker Smith (Centennial, Colo.) at midfield; Johnny Neal (Greenwood Village, Colo.) and Anthony Willner (Littleton, Colo.) and defensive midfielder/faceoff specialist; Garrett Winters (Las Vegas, Nev.) at long stick midfielder; and Ramie Arbid (Mesa, Ariz.) as a defender.
Stillwagon and fellow first team defender Johnny Nitti of Colorado Mesa were joined by Dominican’s Jake Fritz as the only unanimous selections. Nate Jackson of Notre Dame de Namur was tabbed as the Offensive Player of the Year, while Freshman of the Year accolades went to Kevin Powers of Dominican and Colorado Mesa’s A.J. Stevens was awarded the WILA Coach of the Year after leading the Mavericks to a league title with records of 9-4 overall and 6-2 in league play.
A second team pick following both ASC and the WILA’s inaugural season last spring, Stillwagon led the league with 43 caused turnovers this season (3.3 per game), while the ASC defense led the league as team at 10.67 caused turnovers per game. He also tied for second with 4.92 ground balls per game, a category in which Adams State ranked second in the WILA at 36.77 per game. Stillwagon, who also scored a pair of goals this season, was also honored as the WILA Defensive Player of the Week on March 29.
Damico, who led the Grizzlies with 30 points this season, scored 15 goals and set an program record with the same number of assists. His goals ranked third on the team, while 1.15 assists per game ranked fourth in the WILA. At 2.31 total points per game, Damico was fifth in the league, accounted for over 20 percent of Adams State’s points. On March 22, he was named the WILA Offensive Player of the Week following a 14-point, 3-game effort in California.
The Grizzlies’ goal-scoring leader this spring, sophomore transfer Pelletier found the back of the net 19 times and helped on three more goals for a total of 22 points, the second most for ASC. Pelletier’s 1.58 goals per game ranked sixth in the league. On March 15, he scored a season-high four goals in Adams State’s 13-7 win over Notre Dame de Namur, and he scored two more goals seven times.
In 2011, then-freshman Bertrand was tabbed as a second team all-league pick. In his sophomore campaign, Bertrand racked up 15 points on nine goals and six assists. The controller of 22 ground balls as well this season, he posted three goals in a tight, 14-13 win over the Penguins on March 18 in California.
From his midfield position, freshman Peterman scored an ASC second-best 16 goals and ranked 10th in the WILA with an average of 1.23 per game. He finished the season with 19 points, recording three assists as well, and took a team-leading 76 shots. Peterman was the scorer of the Grizzlies’ game-winning goal in their April 17 victory over Shorter (Ga.).
Smith kicked off his collegiate career nine points this season, scoring eight goals and adding a helper. An invaluable reserve for Adams State who played in all 13 games, he scooped up 15 ground balls and caused four turnovers.
One of the Grizzlies’ team leaders with 33 ground balls, Neal played in all but one game and started 11 this spring. Additionally, he caused eight turnovers and scored a pair of goals.
Willner was a WILA first team honoree last season, and handled the majority of faceoffs for the Grizzlies in 2012. He won 77-of-175 (44.0 percent) and picked up 49 ground balls, second most on the team. Offensively, Willner scored five goals and tabbed a pair of helpers. He was also responsible for the game-winner in the Grizzlies’ win over Dominican, a 14-13 affair.
Freshman long stick midfielder Winters went 22-for-57 (38.6 percent) in his faceoff attempts, while successfully scooping up 27 ground balls and causing 10 turnovers. Winters started seven games in his rookie season and played in all but two. Arbid started 11 games, all but one in which he played, recording 20 ground balls and seven caused turnovers during his time on the field.
The Grizzly men showed dramatic improvement in their second season while under the guidance of Interim Head Coach John McCreery. After winning one game in their inaugural campaign, the Grizzlies went 5-8 overall and 3-5 in the WILA, good for a fourth place finish in the 5-team league. ASC ranked second in the league in ground balls per game and first in caused turnovers. ASC re-set nearly every program record this spring, and recorded a 3-game winning streak form March 15-23, earing two wins during that stretch against NDNU and one against Dominican.
Related Item: 2012 Men's All-WILA Release