Denver’s Jill Remenapp had no idea she was on her way to a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation record when she handed out nine assists in the No. 15 Pioneers’ 20-9 win over St. Mary’s (Cal.) on Sunday afternoon.
“I didn’t realize I was on such a roll,” the Century graduate said. “At halftime, Josie Owen, our grad assistant coach, said, ‘Jill, you have six assists.’ I was like, ‘What?’ because when I’m in the game I’m not thinking, ‘Oh I had another assist.’ Plus, you don’t know whether you’re going to get recorded for it. But [the St. Mary’s defenders] were just sliding so early to me, girls were wide open in the middle.”
Those nine assists brought the sophomore attacker’s season total to a 62, a Pioneers single-season record. In just two years, her career total of 90 assists is second only to Bryn Mawr graduate Stephanie Coyne’s mark of 132 set in 2009. Remenapp also leads the Pioneers with 91 points this season.
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“Her vision is great. Her trust in her teammates is exceptional,” said Pioneers coach Liza Kelly, a Garrison Forest graduate. “We have four attackers that played together all last year and their timing down on the offensive end is really good. I also think that Jill probably gets underestimated because of her (5-foot-1) stature, but she’s such a competitor that she finds a way to get it done.”
Remenapp gives a lot of credit to the teammates she has played with for two years, Jenn Etzel (John Carroll), Rachael Dillon and especially leading goal scorer senior Kara Secora, for making her job easier as she’s grown into a leadership role. Remenapp said it took a year to get used to the pace of the college game, but her teammates look to her more now and she has the confidence to assert herself.
“I’ve always been a playmaker since middle school,” Remenapp said, “but also having Kara back there, I would say we’re both playmakers. Kara and I are like the quarterbacks of the team. I always talk about how Kara is my left side and I’m her right side. We just work really well together.”
The Pioneers (15-1) have clinched the top seed in the Mountain Pacific tournament, which begins May 2. If they can beat Oregon on Friday in the regular-season finale, they will complete the fourth undefeated run through the conference in Kelly’s seven years in Denver. Then they'll take aim at earning their first trip to the NCAA tournament; they'll have an automatic berth if they win the conference tournament.
“Just taking it game by game is definitely what we need to do. I feel like last year, we were like, 'OK, we’re the second seed. We’re going to be in the championship,' and we lost in the semis to Stanford after beating them in the regular season. This year, we’re not even overlooking the game Friday against Oregon. It’s a very important game even though we are the first seed,” said Remenapp, whose teammates in the Pioneers’ starting lineup include goalie Hannah Hook (Severn) and defender Jessica Gring (Notre Dame Prep).