The ECCL congratulates the emerging local stars in basketball and lacrosse. Keep an eye out for their upcoming games; they appreciate your local support.
Kierstan Bell, FGCU’s star woman basketball guard, was named ASUN Conference “Player of the Year” for her second time. She was one of the five finalists for the 2022 Ann Meyer-Drysdale Award. The award was presented by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. In its fifth year, the annual award recognizes the top shooting guard in NCAA Division I college women’s basketball.
“Kierstan is one of the best players in the nation,” said head coach Karl Smesko who was also named Coach of the Year (his 12th time.) “She has had another outstanding season, and it is great to see her earn this recognition.”
Florida Gulf Coast Junior Grant Shafer has been named USA Lacrosse/MCLA February Player of the month in Division II. Shafer, in 5 games, has turned away 105 shots as the goalie, allowing just 40 goals — a save percentage of 72.4.
The FGCU Lacrosse team is off to a 4-1 start this season. The Eagles are in the Top 10 of the weekly polls based on the performance of Shafer. Against No. 14 Missouri State, Shafer held the high-powered Bears offense to just seven goals while making 28 stops in net. Division II foes have averaged just five goals per game against the FGCU Lacrosse team.
“Grant has been a great captain and a great leader for our team this year,” said Florida Gulf Coast coach Vinny Valentine. “With the two years off, he is taking each day as a blessing and has been absolutely outstanding so far this year. He lives to play lacrosse, and his attitude and energy ripples through our entire team. Each save is a boost of confidence, as we know we can be in any game against any opponent we play because we have a ‘brick wall’ between the pipes.”
Shafer will receive a one-year membership to USA Lacrosse, the governing body for men’s and women’s lacrosse in the United States, for his efforts. Membership includes on-the-field insurance coverage, discounted tickets, and apparel, along with a subscription to USA Lacrosse Magazine.