Sophomore ignites Navy's NCAA bid (Annapolis Captial)
May 5, 2011
By Bill Wagner
May 5, 2011
The original Annapolis Capital article can be accessed here.
Erin Rawlick was the clear offensive leader of the Navy women's lacrosse team during the first three years of its existence. Rawlick, a hard-charging attacker, piled up 294 points between 2008 and 2010 and her scoring prowess was a major reason the Midshipmen captured the Patriot League championship and reached the NCAA Tournament last season.
When Rawlick graduated last May, not even the coaching staff knew who would fill her shoes as the team's offensive catalyst. It definitely came as a surprise to many that it turned out to be sophomore Jasmine DePompeo, who totaled just 18 points while playing on the second midfield line in 2010.
Head coach Cindy Timchal switched DePompeo to attack this season and the youngster has responded in spectacular fashion, leading Navy in scoring with 90 points. The Long Island native topped the team in both goals (53) and assists (37) en route to earning the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year award.
"Jasmine has certainly stepped up and produced at a level that has helped ease the loss of Erin," Timchal said. "We thought Jas would be a good fit on attack and she has clearly found her niche in that role.She has scored a lot of goals in critical situations and also been an effective playmaker."
DePompeo played midfield throughout her career at Sayville High, where she was a three-time All-Suffolk County selection and led the squad in scoring with 76 goals as a senior. However, a right knee that was surgically repaired twice in the span of three years prevented DePompeo from getting up and down the field as well as she wanted as a freshman at Navy.
"I was real excited about playing attack because I felt I would be more effective. I just think it plays to my strengths," DePompeo said. "That being said, I never expected to score like this. I just wanted to contribute. I think I've been lucky in a lot of ways. I've been in the right place at the right time and it's just a matter of finishing whenever I get the opportunity."
Timchal said DePompeo's scoring has been the result of Navy playing good team offense. Fellow attackers Aimee Gennaro (63 points) and Caitlin Mandrin Hill (61) have both enjoyed strong seasons as the Mids are averaging more than 13 goals per game. Midfielders Kathy Young (38 goals) and Katrina Nietsch (29 goals) have also been consistent scoring threats.
"I definitely think Jasmine's success has been the by-product of the whole offense stepping up," Timchal said. "Our offense is built for everyone to be a factor, for everyone to contribute."
DePompeo was a three-time All-Suffolk County and All-New York State selection as a forward in soccer as well as a four-time all-league pick as a guard in basketball. However, the 5-foot-8 dynamo suffered a severe knee injury while playing hoops as a junior and sat out the entire lacrosse season that year.
DePompeo recovered in time to enjoy a strong summer lacrosse season for the renowned Long Island Yellow Jackets program and she was named a US Lacrosse All-American as a senior at Sayville High. However, she suffered another setback shortly after arriving at the academy - ripping the meniscus in the same right knee that had previously been repaired for a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Dr. David Keblish, the orthopedic surgeon who performed the second surgery on DePompeo, found severe damage in the right knee. "Dr. Keblish told me that my knee is like an antique car and that I should only take it out on nice days," said DePompeo, who has worn a sturdy knee brace ever since and must cope with constant pain during the season. "It's definitely a part of my life from now on. I have to ice it after every game and rest it whenever I can. I sometimes need to take a day off from practice when it's really hurting."
That bum knee hasn't prevented DePompeo from developing into a dangerous scorer capable of beating defenders from behind the goal or getting open for shots out front. DePompeo has displayed superb vision and passing ability when serving as the offensive quarterback behind the cage.
"Jas has outstanding stick skills and is a great athlete. She is very good one-on-one and also does an excellent job of moving off the ball," Timchal said. "Jas is also a solid passer who sees the field and finds the open cutter. I think she is becoming a very complete offensive player."
DePompeo was named the Synapse Sports/WomensLacrosse.com National Offensive Player of the Week after scoring a Patriot League Tournament record 13 points over two games.
DePompeo hopes to extend her breakout sophomore season on Saturday when Navy hosts Northeast Conference champion Quinnipiac in an NCAA play-in game. If the Mids win and earn a second straight automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament, DePompeo could possibly join Rawlick as only the second player in program history to surpass 100 points.
"I remember at our last home game they showed a highlight video of Erin on the scoreboard and it called her an Annapolis legend, which is so true," DePompeo said. "Erin was so relentless going to the goal and a great finisher. I'd be happy if I can be half the lacrosse player Erin was."