The Oglethorpe women's lacrosse team saw a program-record five players make All-SAA squads on Tuesday, as voted by the league's coaches, as seniors Juliana Altman and Michelle Shramek earned All-SAA Second Team accolades while freshmen Jilian Czaplinski, Danielle Fuller and Dreshona Mapps-Whitmore garnered All-SAA Honorable Mention. The Stormy Petrels garnered their first postseason award in program history, also, as head coach Shawna Block earned SAA Women's Lacrosse Coach of the Year honors.
Block just finished her first year at the helm of her program, and promptly led her team to the best season in program history. The team set an Oglethorpe record for wins with six, and earned a sixth-place finish in SAA play with the first two conference victories in the program's history. That sixth-place mark is the highest-ever SAA finish for the Petrels. Block took her team to the SAA Tournament, as well, marking the first time that the team has made the tournament since it was reduced to a 6-team field in 2015.
"I'm truly humbled to receive this honor from the conference," said Block. "To have my peers choose me as coach of the year in my first year is a genuine surprise. The SAA is filled with fantastic coaches who are well-respected throughout the lacrosse community. For them to recognize the progress our program has achieved is truly an honor. Without the players who had the drive and desire to improve, this award would not have happened."
Altman, an attacker, had an outstanding cap to her career, earning her second career All-SAA honor and her second All-SAA Second Team honor in as many years. She finished in the SAA's top 10 in several categories, including overall goals and free position goals. She's currently ninth in the league with 40 goals on the season, and also ninth with 8 free position goals. She's 10th in the SAA with 70 shots on goal, and is also in the top 15 in ground balls and caused turnovers. She earned SAA Offensive Player of the Week honors on April 10 after leading her team to a 14-13 victory at Hendrix with 5 goals on the afternoon. That win secured the team's spot in the SAA Tournament.
"Juliana has been with the program for four straight years," said Block. "It was a pleasure to get to coach her in her final year, in which she was co-captain and our leading scorer. She will leave a hole in our offense that will need to be filled."
Shramek, a midfielder, earns her second All-SAA Second Team honor after also being named to the squad in 2015, and her fourth overall All-SAA accolades, after earning All-SAA Honorable Mention in 2013 and 2014. She proved yet again to be a defensive force, finishing seventh in the SAA with 28 caused turnovers, ninth with 39 draw controls, and 13th with 42 ground balls. She also scored 26 goals on the season on the offensive end. She owns the school records in goals scored, points, ground balls, draw controls and caused turnovers.
"Michelle returned to finish out her fourth year of play with us this season as co-captain and an all-around go-to player," said Block. "Michelle is quite a presence on our squad, and she leads by example. She's very focused and driven. Michelle's impact this year can be noted from end line to end line. She will be sorely missed in the midfield."
Czaplinski, an attacker, had an outstanding freshman campaign, and earned her first career All-SAA accolades as a result. She stormed onto the scene with 18 goals and 17 assists in her first season as a Petrel, accruing a total of 35 points. The assist mark places her ninth in the league, and breaks the Oglethorpe record for assists in a season, putting her just one shy of Altman for the career lead in that category. Her 29 draw controls placed her 13th in the league.
"I'm excited for Jill to receive this acknowledgement from the conference," said Block. "As a freshman, she played with much poise and composure, whether playing attack or midfield. We are looking forward to seeing her impact for years to come."
Fuller, a defender, earned her first career All-SAA accolades after having an excellent freshman campaign. She finished in the league's top 10 in caused turnovers, placing sixth in the category with 30 on the season. She also scooped 39 ground balls and placed all four of her shots on goal.
Mapps-Whitmore, a defender, also earned her first career All-SAA nod. She finished 12th in the league in caused turnovers, recording 23 of them. She also collected 26 ground balls on the season. She earned SAA Defensive Player of the Week honors on Feb. 13 after her team's 22-3 season-opening victory over Truett McConnell. On that day, she caused 4 turnovers and scooped 4 ground balls.
"Dani and Dre are both freshman defenders who were impactful from Day 1," said Block. "I'm pleased that the conference viewed them as formidably as we did. They worked well together captaining our defense and adjusting swiftly to the speed of collegiate play."