LAKEPOINT, Ga. – A pair of women's lacrosse players from reigning ASUN Conference Champion Jacksonville University garnered Preseason All-ASUN Conference awards, as announced by the league Thursday afternoon. Ashtyn Hiron took home the league's Preseason Player of the Year and Facebook Fan-Voted Preseason Player of the Year honors, while she and Emily Barton were unanimous selections to the Preseason All-ASUN Team.
With 32 and 29 caused turnovers, respectively, Hiron and Barton led the Dolphins to their 15th NCAA Statistical Championship with 14.20 caused turnovers per game - tops in the nation. The Dolphins also led the nation in caused turnovers in 2013 with 13.32.
"I think our team is relishing the role of being an underdog this season," stated Associate Head Coach Paul McCord. "It's great for Ashtyn and Emily to receive such recognition to start the season. They deserve it. We hope that as the season moves on everyone can see the level of our team and respect some of the other players on the team. There are some fine young players emerging after the fall season!"
A two-time First Team All-ASUN selection, Hiron heads into the season fresh off a stellar summer playing on the international stage with the Australian Women's Lacrosse National Team. Between the 2017 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Women's World Cup and the 2017 World Games in which she helped the Aussies to a bronze medal, Hiron totaled 20 goals, five assists, 22 ground balls, 23 draw controls, and 10 caused turnovers.
Last season, the senior midfielder helped the Dolphins to their fourth ASUN Tournament title in five years as three goals, four ground balls, four draws, and three caused turnovers were crucial to JU's 11-10 victory over Coastal Carolina in the tournament championship. Additionally, Hiron finished the season ranked second in the league in draws won with 77 – a mark that ranks third in league in a single season. She also tied for second in caused turnovers (32), finished second in free-position goals per game (0.526), fourth in DC/game (4.05), and fifth in CT/game (1.72). Named ASUN Player of the Week for Feb. 21, 2017, Hiron is the 2016 ASUN Defensive Player of the Year and a two-time ASUN All-Tournament Team selection (2015, 2016).
A staple of the Dolphins' nationally-ranked defense - which finished sixth in the nation allowing just 8.55 goals per game - Barton started all 20 games and was a 2017 ASUN All-Tournament Team selection. The senior from Annapolis, Md. totaled 39 ground balls and won nine draws, while her 29 caused turnovers were tied for sixth in the league. Barton recorded a ground ball in 17 of 20 games and caused a turnover in 15 of 20 games. With 79 career ground balls entering the 2018 season, Barton will need just 21 to reach the 100 GB plateau – a mark just nine other Dolphins have reached in her career.
Jacksonville was chosen second in the league with 30 points and one first place vote, just behind last year's tournament runner-up Coastal Carolina (34 points, four first-place votes). Rounding out the league are Old Dominion (26, one first place vote), Kennesaw State (16), Stetson (14), and Howard (6).
Hiron, Barton, and the rest of the Dolphins open the 2018 season Sunday, Feb. 11 when Michigan visits D.B. Milne Field for a noon contest.
2018 ASUN Conference Preseason Team
Preseason Player of the Year: Ashtyn Hiron, Jacksonville
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Harley Barrett, Coasta Carolina
Facebook Fan Voted Player of the Year: Ashtyn Hiron, Jacksonville
Facebook Fan-Voted Defensive Player of the Year: Maura Palandro, Kennesaw State
|Connor Zophy||Attack||Kennesaw State|
|Haley Alexander||Attack||Coastal Carolina|
|*Haley Swift||Attack||Kennesaw State|
|Sophie Crowther||Midfield||Coastal Carolina|
|*Courtney Genovese||Midfield||Coastal Carolina|
|Cydney Tutchton||Midfield||Old Dominion|
|Megan Kilpatrick||Defense||Coastal Carolina|
|Emily D'Orasaneo||Defense||Coastal Carolina|
|Karris Caruso||Defense||Old Dominion|
|*Harley Barrett||Goalkeeper||Coastal Carolina|
*denotes unanimous selection
2018 ASUN Conference Preseason Coaches Poll
|PLACE||TEAM||VOTES (FIRST PLACE VOTES)|
|1||Coastal Carolina||34 (4)|
|3||Old Dominion||26 (1)|