WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - The University of Saint Joseph Athletic Department hosted its 2017-18 Winter/Spring Sports Awards Night on Monday evening, May 7, at Café Bon Appétit on the campus of the University of Saint Joseph. The annual event wraps up the four winter/spring sports seasons, highlights each teams' accomplishments and honors the seniors and distinguished student-athletes with season-end awards.
The three USJ Undergraduate Major Awards, which are given annually to three student-athletes who best exemplify what it means to be a Blue Jay, are also presented on this night. The awards are the Nancy Spada Athletic Leadership Award, Senior Scholar-Athlete Award, and Blue Jay Senior Student-Athlete Award. This year's recipients were:
Nancy Spada Leadership Award: Olivia Kajda (Sr., Swimming & Diving)
Senior Scholar-Athlete Award: Shelby Tallman (Sr., Soccer)
Blue Jay Senior Student-Athlete Award: Rajeen May (Sr., Basketball)
Winter/Spring Sports in Review
Basketball - Finished with a 9-16 overall record under second-year head coach Brandon Gade, matching their record from the 2016-17 season. Posted a 3-13 mark in Great Northeast Athletic Conference action. Defeated Bay Path, 79-36, on the road in their season opener, marking the fifth time in the past six seasons the Blue Jays have won their season-opening game. Placed runner-up in the 20th Annual USJ Tip-Off Tournament and senior Rajeen Mayo (Middletown, Conn.) earned All-Tournament Team accolades, averaging 18.0 ppg and 6.0 apg. Classmate Kayla Guest (Newington Conn.) was selected play in the NEWBA Senior All-Star Classic following the conclusion of the season in March. Both Guest and Mayo also became the eighth and ninth players, respectively, to join the 1,000-point scoring club during the 2017-18 campaign.
Swimming & Diving - Posted its best dual meet record in program history finishing the season with a 4-2 overall mark which included its first-ever win over Plymouth State, 134-128, on Jan. 12. Recorded a seventh-place finish at the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championships in December racking up a total of 280 points, and were led by junior Annmarie Masayda (Watertown, Conn.) who posted 44 individual points on the weekend. Two school records were broken at the 2018 New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Regional Championships including the 400-yard medley relay and junior Gabriella Alberino (East Haven, Conn.) set the new school standard in the 100-yard IM. The team place 13th at the NEISDA Championships out of 20 teams with a total of 282 points, marking its best overall finish at the regional championship meet and 106-point and three-place improvement from a season ago. The team earned CSCAA Scholar All-America honors for the sixth straight semester and also garnered the GNAC Institutional Sportsmanship Award.
Lacrosse - Finished the season with a 4-9 overall record and 1-9 mark in Great Northeast Athletic Conference play under first-year head coach Mallorie Michalak. Senior goalkeeper Emily Bourassa (Bristol, Conn.), who played every single minute of every single game over her career in goal for the Blue Jays, finished third in the GNAC with 155 saves on the year. She concludes her career with an impressive 653 total stops. The team earned the GNAC Institutional Sportsmanship Award for the second consecutive season and Senior Danielle Bazzano (South Windsor, Conn.) was named to the All-GNAC Sportsmanship Team.
Softball - Registered a 23-15 overall record during the regular season marking the eighth time in the past nine years the Blue Jays have recorded a 20+ win campaign. Recorded a 15-9 mark in Great Northeast Athletic Conference games to finish in a four-way tie for third place in the GNAC regular season standings and qualify for the GNAC postseason tournament for a ninth consecutive season. Three players earned All-GNAC honors headlined by sophomore McKenna Driscoll (Bristol, Conn.) who was named the All-GNAC Second Team Designated Player. Classmate Amaria Sharon (Tolland, Conn.) and junior Kara Klimaszewski (Naugatuck, Conn.) earned All-GNAC Third Team accolades at second base and third base, respectively.
Athletic Award Winners
Most Valuable Player: Rajeen Mayo
Most Improved Player: Diamond Wallen
Coaches' Award: Kayla Guest
Swimming & Diving
Most Valuable Athlete: Gabriella Alberino
Most Improved Athlete: Elizabeth Sears
Coaches' Award: Mariah Markham
Most Valuable Player: Annmarie Masayda
Most Improved Player: Raelynn Voislow
Coaches' Award: Abigail Horner
Most Valuable Player: Amaria Sharon
Most Improved Player: Kara Klimaszewski
Coaches' Award: Isabella Russo, Sarah Ercoli