The Sacred Heart University Department of Athletics celebrated the Class of 2018 at the 26th Annual Senior Awards Brunch at the William H. Pitt Center on Friday afternoon. The members of the Pioneer senior class were honored for their success in the classroom and the athletic venue with numerous awards. Part of the celebration included 71 student-athletes, nearly half of the graduating class, being inducted into the C. Donald Cook Scholar Athlete Society for posting cumulative grade point averages of 3.5 or better.
Amanda Nardiello of the bowling team and Joshua Ayzenberg of the volleyball team received the top honors of the Pioneer Award, presented to the male and female student-athletes who, on and off the playing surface, represent the best in athletic and academic excellence.
Nardiello saved her best for last, earning NTCA Second Team All-America honors in 2018, after leading the Pioneers to their third straight Northeast Conference regular season crown. She finished her senior campaign ranking in the top-10 in the nation in numerous categories, including 10th with her 205.9 average and fifth in filled frames, 88 percent. A four-year starter, Nardiello played in every match the past two seasons, earning NEC First-Team honors both seasons and being named the NEC Bowler of the Year in 2017. Nardiello was named the 2018 NEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year for bowling, earning Dean's List honors on three occasions. She graduates on Sunday with a Degree in Media Arts
Ayzenberg became the first Pioneer men's volleyball player to earn AVCA All-America recognition, earning honorable mention following his junior and senior campaigns. Following his 2017 campaign, he finished as the runner-up in for National Libero of the Year. A two-time All-EIVA First-Team honoree, Ayzenberg is graduating as the program's all-time digs leader, with 778. The past two seasons he has finished the year ranked second in the NCAA in digs per game and has surpassed 200 digs in each of the past three seasons. A three-year member of the SAAC board, Ayzenberg will graduate Sunday with a degree in finance.
The Athletic Director Award is presented to the senior student-athletes that were voted to have the best overall athletic careers and are in good academic standing. The award was presented to cross country and track & field standout Trevor Guerrera, women's ice hockey player Taylor Moreland and women's cross country and track & field distance runner Kate Svensen. Guerrera won nine NEC individual crowns over the course of his career and was named the NEC Distance Runner of the Meet at the 2017 indoor championship. He is the first Pioneer male runner to earn All-NEC cross-country honors in each of his four seasons and became the second male to earn All-NEC, All-East and All-New England in the same season.
Moreland will graduate as the Pioneers all-time leader in points, 140, assists, 71, and games played, 117. In addition, she is the single-season record holder in points, 66, goals, 30 and assists, 36. She led the team to an NEWHA Championship this winter as she earned First-Team accolades. Svensen led her teams to 10 championships over her four seasons, including four consecutive NEC Outdoor crowns. As a senior, she was the NEC cross-country individual title and was named outstanding distance runner at both the indoor and outdoor NEC Championship this season.
Nardiello and Guerrera were also named as the Pioneers' nominees for the 2018 NEC Student-Athlete of the Year. The NEC Student-Athlete of the Year is presented to a male and female student-athlete from a full member based equally on athletics, academics and community service.
Nardiello and football player Andrew O'Neill were presented the Dr. Gary Rose Scholar-Athlete Award. Honorees have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2, and are a starter or significant reserve for his or her team. In addition to her scholastic and academic accomplishments, Nardiello volunteered an average of 40 hours a semester over the course of her four seasons at SHU. O'Neill is a two-time CoSida All-Academic District I selection and earned the 2017 FCS All-Academic Award and was a finalist for the FCS STATS Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete Award. He earned First-Team All-NEC in 2017 and has 121 catches for 1,442 yards in 33 career games played.
Devan Kane was presented the Chip Kennedy Outstanding Contribution Award for her creation of the Heart-to-Heart Club. The Kennedy Award recognizes members of the SHU community whose contribution and support is integral to the success of Sacred Heart Athletics. Kane created Heart-to-Heart to combat the stigma of mental health issues, primarily amongst collegiate student-athletes. Founded out of personal experience, Kane grew the organization during the 2017-18 season and the Department of Athletics – staff and student-athletes alike – flocked to the cause. As Kane graduates, Heart-to-Heart will continue on under the leadership of the Academic Services and Student Development staff and SAAC. Kane also was named the Comeback Student-Athlete of the Year, returning from six surgeries.
Abigail Hood, women's golf, and Joseph Choineire, men's lacrosse, were presented the John Croffy Award for the highest graduating GPA of the senior class. Hood is a Sociology and Education major with a 3.984 GPA, while Choineire posted a 3.975 GPA in finance. Erin Coutts, women's lacrosse and CJ Parvelus, football, were presented the Alvin Clinkscales Unsung Hero Award. Jake Davis, football, Lindsey Lucas, cross country and track & field, and Makayla Dole, women's volleyball, were named the winners of the Lucy Cox Alumni Recognition Award, presented to the graduating seniors that best reflects the high values associated with intercollegiate competition, academic achievement, leadership, and university service. Lila Palmer, women's volleyball, and Parvelus were named the inaugural winners of the Strength and Conditioning Award, presented to a male and female student-athlete for dedication and excellence in that area of training.
The Pioneers also presented awards to members of the University community for their continued support of athletics. The Dr. Marian 'Bunny' Calabrese Spirit Award was presented to Assistant Director of Athletics Tammy Petrucelli for her dedication to the success of student-athletes and staff. The Faculty/Student-Athlete Mentor Appreciation Award was given to Professor Ruth Grant for her efforts with the Pioneer women's hockey team.