Six Camels pick up All-Big South lacrosse honors

Campbell's 2017 All-Big South selections
Campbell's 2017 All-Big South selections

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- Campbell has earned a program-record six All-Big South Conference lacrosse selections as announced by the league Thursday. Kayla Reilly, Melissa Placek and Merredith Bechler headline the group as first team honorees and Mackenzie Koeller was named the Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Erin O'Hara and Megan Reilly were both second team honorees while Koeller picked up an honorable mention selection and was named to the all-academic team.

Kayla Reilly, a junior attacker, picked up her first career Big South postseason honor after leading the conference in assists during regular season play with 38 overall and 2.38 per game. Both tallies currently rank 10th nationally. Her 64 total points (4.00 per game) with the addition of 26 goals leads the team and ranks fourth in the league.

The Fallston, Maryland native registered at least a point in 15 of 16 games with 10 multi-assist games and eight multi-goal efforts. She tallied a career-high eight points against Winthrop and earned her second career Big South Offensive Player of the Week award a few days later.

Kayla Reilly assisted on a career-high five goals and scored twice for seven points at Radford. She also stands third on the team in caused turnovers (15) and fifth in ground balls (20) as an attacker.

Placek earned her second-straight all-conference honor after a second team selection last season. The sophomore midfielder currently leads the Camels in scoring with 42 goals, while her 2.62 goals per game ranks fifth in the league. Placek has picked up a team-high 82 draw controls and her 5.19 draws per game stands third in the Big South and 20th nationally.

Placek has caused a team-high 15 turnovers and stands second in ground balls (25), points (53) and assists (11). She registered at least a point in all 16 regular season games and scored in 15 contests with 10 multi-goal efforts.

The Baltimore, Maryland native scored a career-high seven goals at Longwood, which matched the highest single-game tally in the league this season. Placek also registered two of the biggest goals of the season, the overtime game-winner against Mercer and the game-tying goal with 27 seconds left in regulation against Liberty that sent the game into overtime.

Bechler was named the first team goalkeeper to claim her first career Big South postseason honor. She is currently ranked third in the conference in total saves (109), saves per game (7.27) and save percentage (0.394). Bechler has made double-digit saves in 10 contests including a season-high 17 versus Cincinnati and High Point, and 13 in the win at Longwood.

The Washington Township, New Jersey native made two important saves to preserve key conference victories this season. Bechler had the game-winning save with 11 seconds left on the clock to preserve the one-goal win against Winthrop. She also made a crucial stop in overtime against Liberty to set up Sara Paul's game-winner in the next possession.

Koeller is the second Camel in program history to earn the Scholar-Athlete of the Year award after Erica Hitch claimed the honor last season. In the classroom, the junior business administration major owns a 3.96 GPA, the highest in the Big South. She's also a member of the Big South Presidential Honor Roll.

On the field, the Cary, North Carolina native stands second on the team in scoring with 34 goals despite missing two games in non-conference play. She ranks third on the team in points with 43 on the addition of nine assists.

Koeller averaged 3.57 goals per game in conference play, which ranked third in the league. She tallied at least a point in 11 of 14 games she appeared and had 10 multi-goal games. Koeller scored a career-high seven goals versus Gardner-Webb to match the highest single-game tally in the league this season and led to a Big South Offensive Player of the Week selection.

O'Hara picked up her fourth All-Big South selection to become the first Camel in program history to earn a postseason honor in all four years of eligibility. The senior defender routinely matched up against the best offensive player on every team this season to help Campbell sit third in the league in scoring defense.

The Gambrills, Maryland native owns 23 ground balls and 11 caused turnovers, which rank third and fourth on the team respectively. Twelve of those ground balls and six caused turnovers came in conference play. O'Hara scored the final goal of the game versus Gardner-Webb in the very last possession of her career at Barker-Lane Stadium.

Megan Reilly also claimed her first career conference honor and is the third player in the Camels' defensive unit to earn postseason accolades. The junior defender always matches up against opponent's best inside players and statistically she has 21 ground balls and 11 caused turnovers.

The Fallston, Maryland native didn't commit a turnover in a conference game and overall has committed the least amount of turnovers on the team among players that have 13 or more appearances. Megan Reilly has five multi-ground ball games with a season-high four versus Cincinnati and Davidson.

The Big South Offensive Player of the Year award went to High Point's Samantha Brown while her teammate Christina Del Sesto earned the Defensive Player of the Year award. The Panthers' Lyndsey Boswell earned the Coach of the Year honor while Liberty's Carly White was tabbed as the Freshman of the Year.

Overall, High Point led the way with eight all-conference selections with five first team honorees. Campbell and Liberty each had six selections while Longwood had five.

The Camels finished second in the Big South with a 6-1 league mark, their highest conference finish in program history. CU also tallied a 9-7 overall record. It's the second-straight season above the .500 mark in regular season play and its .563 winning percentage is the highest in program history.

Campbell earned the second seed in the upcoming Big South Championship and received a bye into the semifinal round. The Camels will face off against the winner of the No. 6 Radford / No. 3 Winthrop quarterfinal matchup on Friday, May 5 at 7 p.m. Friday's semifinals and Sunday's final will be played at Vert Stadium on High Point's campus.