By John Beisser
Athletic CommunicationsStaten Island, NY –
While modest and unassuming off the field, the tenacious and super-productive play of Shea Gegan
(Manasquan, NJ/Manasquan) has taken the Northeast Conference (NEC), and the nation, by storm.
Through 11 games, the sophomore midfielder ranks No. 1 among all Division I women's lacrosse players at 3.45 caused turnovers per game while her average of 3.55 ground balls per game ranks No. 2 nationally. Led by Gegan, the Seahawks are No. 1 nationally in caused turnovers per game (14.00) and No. 4 in ground balls per outing at 21.91.
With just 28 career games under belt, and five regular season contests to play this year (potentially more if the Seahawks earn a spot in the 2014 NEC Tournament), Gegan is already tied for second on the Seahawk all-time list with 80 career caused turnovers. She is just five behind all-time leader Natosha Davis (1998-2001), who registered 85 caused turnovers in her four-year career.
As a freshman last season, Gegan set the school single-season school record with 42 caused turnovers and already has 38 to her credit this season. The 2013 All-NEC Rookie Team selection hit the ground running in the Seahawks' season-opening 9-5 win over Fresno State on February 17, recording two goals, two assists, six draw controls, three ground balls and two caused turnovers.
The agile and athletic 5-10 Gegan has continued to fill up the stat columns throughout the season and is the driving force behind a 5-6 Wagner team that heads into this weekend's play fresh off of an impressive 15-7 victory over Central Connecticut on April 6. On April 4 vs. Bryant, Gegan came up with a career-high eight caused turnovers, and followed with seven more CTs against CCSU, giving her a staggering total of 15 in her last two games.
To date, Gegan is second on the team with 18 goals and paces the Seahawks in points (27), assists (9), ground balls (39, caused turnovers (38) and draw controls (20).
Wagner first-year head coach Liz Frisoli
has come to appreciate the quality and consistency that Gegan provides the Seahawks, while noting that individual statistics are the furthest from the mind of this talented and versatile student-athlete.
"She had no idea she was the nation's caused turnover leader or second in ground balls. That's what I love about her," said Frisoli. "On the field, Shea is always confident and is a natural leader. She pumps the girls up and many of her clutch plays set the tone for the rest of the game. "She's a true team player who isn't interested in the numbers," Frisoli added. "She shows up every day ready to work hard and get better and that's exactly what we've been doing as a team."
So what makes her such a dynamic player and a tough matchup for opposing teams?
"Shea has a confidence with the ball that is hard to defend," said Frisoli. "Her resiliency and ability to score the game-winning goal, and/or make a game-changing caused turnover, is truly amazing. Shea gets better every day and is so fun to coach."
While her production in all phases of the game are impressive, it's Gegan's propensity for delivering plays that require tremendous effort, particularly in causing turnovers and scooping up ground balls, that are truly eye-opening – and what stand her apart.
"Shea's quick hands and feet, combined with her height, make her a threat for stealing the ball all over the field," Frisoli said. "We recently worked on Shea's box-outs, which have greatly increased her aptitude for collecting ground balls."
A scary notion for opponents who will have to contend with Gegan over the next two-plus seasons is that she may just be scratching the surface of her vast potential.
"Her form and technique are improving," says Frisoli. "And I look forward to seeing more of these hard-working stats from her."
Wagner is next in action on Friday, April 11 when the Seahawks travel to LIU Brooklyn to meet the Blackbirds in a 4:00 pm tilt. Follow Wagner Athletics on Twitter (@wagnerathletics) for all the latest news and updates on the athletic department