Lillsjo named first team; Eliasdottir, Helgestad and Lademann collect second-team honors
Catching the eyes of the South Region’s coaches were midfielder Paula Lillsjo, goalkeeper Mist Eliasdottir, defender Ann-Marie Helgestad and forward Casey Lademann. Lillsjo was named NSCAA/Performance Subaru All-South Region First Team, while Eliasdottir, Helgestad and Lademann were selected to the area’s second team.
All four Panthers played important roles in the team advancing to its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament semifinals. They were also key members in the squad capturing a share of the Sunshine State Conference Regular-Season Championship for the first time in the program’s eight-year history.
This season, Lillsjo once again anchored the Panther midfield. She started all 22 games, clocked 1,875 minutes, fourth-most on the team, and supplied four assists, which tied for the team lead. Heading into her senior year, she has scored four goals and totaled 13 assists in 61 games.
Eliasdottir became one of the region’s best goalkeepers in her first season as a starter. The marine biology major surrendered just 17 goals on 232 shots for an outstanding 0.76 goals against average. She also gloved 86 shots for an impressive .835 save percentage and along the way, the junior netminder recorded eight shutouts. In postseason play, Eliasdottir made a name for herself. She helped the Panthers advance on penalty kicks four times by making several clutch saves. In addition to her performance in the net, she scored a shootout goal in the tournament quarterfinals against Lenoir-Rhyne.
Like Lillsjo, Helgestad has been a force since she stepped foot on the Tech campus. But much of what she does goes unnoticed on the stat sheet. Since 2008, the Hamar, Norway native has served as the backbone of the Panther defense. Up until this year, she found the back of the net once in her collegiate career. That changed when she kicked in the game-tying goal in the pivotal playoff match versus Lenoir-Rhyne. The Panthers would earn a shootout win, catapulting them to the Final Four, held last week in Louisville, Ky.
It is not often a transfer rewrites two areas of the program’s record book in her first-year at her new school, but Lademann did just that as a junior. She netted 16 goals and tallied 36 points, both are new plateaus. Additionally, she tied Lillsjo for the team’s assist award with four. As the squad discovered, when she scored, the Panthers had a great chance of winning. Tech went an eye-popping 10-0-2 in games in which she tacked on a goal.