WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - The University of Saint Joseph Athletic Department hosted its 2017 Fall Sports Awards Night on Wednesday evening, Nov. 8, inside the O'Connell Center. The annual event wraps up the four fall sports seasons, highlights each teams' accomplishments and honors the seniors and distinguished student athletes with season-end awards.
2017 Fall Sports in Review
Cross Country - Finished eighth out of 12 teams at the 2017 GNAC Championships under first-year head coach Stephen Allen. They were led by a 10th place individual finish out of 99 runners from junior Mia Tompkins (Meriden, Conn.) who completed the 5K race with a time of 20:22. The result earned the junior a spot on the All-GNAC Second Team and she was also tabbed to the GNAC All-Sportsmanship Team. Tompkins also opened up the season very strong with a pair of top-15 individual finishes and following her 14th place result at the Trinity Invitational on Sept. 9, she was named the GNAC Corvias Women's Cross Country Runner of the Week for the first time in her career. USJ's best team result came at the Blazer Classic Invitational where they took sixth and placed all five scoring runners inside the top-50.
Soccer - Concluded the regular season with an overall record of 9-5-1 and a 7-4 mark in GNAC play under third-year head coach Kelly Shimmin. The seven conference wins ties them for the most since 2014 when USJ finished 7-3-1 in league action. Qualified for the GNAC postseason tournament for the 18th consecutive season and earned the fifth seed. Saw four players earn All-GNAC accolades headlined by senior Jessica Spezzano (Watertown, Conn.) who earned a spot on the All-GNAC First Team after leading the team in points with 35 on a team-high 12 goals and GNAC-best 11 assists. Spezzano and junior Amanda Ghent (Portland, Conn.) picked up GNAC Player of the Week honors in back-to-back weeks after helping USJ open the season unbeaten over their first six matches.
Tennis - Recorded a 5-6 overall record and 2-4 GNAC record in the regular season under second-year head coach Karen Piazza, who was named the 2017 GNAC Women's Tennis Coach of the Year. Qualified for the GNAC postseason tournament for the fifth straight year and earned the fifth seed. Ended the regular season very strong winning four of their final five matches, including a pair of shutouts, to secure their spot in the postseason. Competed at the 2017 Grass Courts Doubles Championships held at the Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I. and saw juniors Lucy Roberge (Willington, Conn.) and Leah Nguyen (West Hartford, Conn.) advance to the second round of their flight. Freshman Emily McAllister (Bristol, Conn.) garnered GNAC Rookie of the Week honors after going undefeated (3-0) in singles action in the final week of the regular season.
Volleyball - Earned the GNAC Institutional Sportsmanship Award for the second consecutive season and for the fourth time on the past five years in a vote amongst the 13 GNAC head coaches. Posted an overall record of 5-20 and 0-12 mark in GNAC action under seventh-year head coach Dejshona George. Junior libero/defensive specialist Janell Molina (Honolulu, Hawaii) was named to the GNAC All-Sportsmanship Team for USJ.
Athletic Award Winners
Runner of the Year: Mia Tompkins
Most Improved Runner: Jessica Jordan
Coaches' Award: Paulina Koloda
Most Valuable Player: Megan Ricci
Most Improved Player: Jenai Davis
Coaches' Award: Amanda Ghent
Most Valuable Player: Lucy Roberge
Most Improved Player: Leah Nguyen
Coaches' Award: Ashley Savino
Most Valuable Player: Jasmine Buckley
Most Improved Player: Lauren Pelletier
Coaches' Award: Hannah Lemek