Getting to the top is hard and staying on top can be harder, but in her first two years at the helm, head coach Jessica Scannapieco has led the Johnson & Wales University women's lacrosse team to a pair of GNAC titles.
The Wildcats made history in 2019 when they defeated Morrisville State University, 17-8, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. It was the program's first win in the NCAA Tournament.
Johnson & Wales was an offensive juggernaut in 2019 with a school-record 17.18 goals per game, which rated sixth in the NCAA. JWU had the top three point-scorers in the league, including GNAC Attacker of the Year Allison Pazienski. The Wildcats placed seven on the All-GNAC teams.
The league coaches recognized Scannapieco with 2018 GNAC Coach of the Year and 10 Wildcats earned a spot on the all-conference teams. Dani Lydecker was named GNAC Rookie of the Year. Under Scannapieco's direction, the Wildcats finished the season ranked sixth in the NCAA for scoring offense and scoring margin. Allison Pazienski set the single-season goals record and the single-season assist record now belongs to Raquel Pederzani, who was named GNAC Woman of the Year.
Scannapieco spent the 2017 season as the women's lacrosse head coach at Elms College and while it was her only year at the helm, it was the most successful season in school history. Scannapieco took a team that had not won more than seven games in a season and produced a 13-3 record.
The Blazers were on the doorstep of the NCAA Tournament as they advanced to their first NECC Championship game. Eight players were recognized with a spot on the All-NECC teams. Elms was just as successful in the classroom as 11 student-athletes were named to the NECC All-Academic team.
Prior to taking over the program at Elms, Scannapieco served as the tournament director for Aloha Tournaments and World Series of Youth Lacrosse. Scannapieco has also coached for the Ultimate Club Lacrosse, Lax Plus Lacrosse Club, and Susquehannock High School teams.
Scannapieco was a two-sport athlete at Western New England University where she played lacrosse and field hockey. A three-year captain, she helped the Golden Bears to the 2015 Commonwealth Coast Conference Women's Lacrosse Championship and an appearance in the NCAA DIII National Championship second round.
During her career, Scannapieco set the NCAA Division III career draw controls record (573) and was the 2015 Draw Control Statistical Champion with 9.42 per game. Scannapieco amassed 204 goals with 80 assists and 83 caused turnovers in her four seasons with the Golden Bears.
A three-time, First-Team All-CCC selection, she was named WNEU Female Athlete of the Year in 2015. Scannapieco earned ECAC All-New England honors as well as All-Berkshire recognition from the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association
The Blue Bell, Pa. native earned her bachelor's degree in communications from Western New England in 2015. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in business administration.
Scannapieco inherits a JWU program that won the 2017 GNAC regular season and tournament championships. The Wildcats were defeated by Babson in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.