Top 10 of 2014: #2 is a Slew of Major Honorees Spanning National to Conference Levels

Top 10 of 2014: #2 is a Slew of Major Honorees Spanning National to Conference Levels
SPRINGFIELD, Mass.--It's here...the top-10 of 2014 in Western New England University Athletics. Through the month of January, we'll unveil the top 10 stories/moments played out by Western New England NCAA teams, coaches and student-athletes for the last calendar year. The countdown continues at No. 2 with a slew of Golden Bears who earned major awards at the national and conference levels to include All-America, Academic All-America®, Scholar All-America, and conference player/senior scholar-athlete/rookie of the year accolades.

The listing is headed by five All-Americans in three sports: Adam Knapton of Men's Lacrosse, Kevin Cook, Andrew Gatzogiannis and Nick Vanoudenhove all representing Football and Grace Kucharski from Women's Volleyball.

Kucharski became just the second female student-athlete in WNE history to garner all-America laurels on the field and Capital One Academic All-America® accolades by the College Sports Information Directors' of America in the same season. Senior center Andrew McManus also earned a spot on the 2014 Capital One/CoSIDA NCAA Division III Football Academic All-America First Team.

In addition, five sports saw recognition by their coach's national organization for Scholar All-America including Emily Castleman and Emily Klag on the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Academic Honor Roll; Jocelyn Agnelli, Alexis Bukowski, Avery Clark, Samantha DiGiovanni, Katie Eckert, Gabby Lavinio, Emily Mastropaolo, Samantha Mulhern, Ashley Walch and Lauren Zambrano on the National Fastpitch Coaches' Association (NFCA) Scholar All-America team--a record 10 for the softball program to top the Commonwealth Coast Conference; Sean Lawton and Knapton on the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Scholar All-America team; Michael Masciadrelli, PJ Nassar, Adam Zimmerman on the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Academic Team; Sean McAllister was a Scholar All-American by the National Wrestling Coaches' Association (NWCA); and women's tennis' Kelsey Grode, Lindsey Brudvig, Kelly Byrnes, Juliette Cormier, Caleigh CurranJoeanna Glantz, Corey St. Louis were ITA Scholar All-Americans.

Several Golden Bear teams were also cited for excellence in academics by their respective coaches' associations: Women's Swimming by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America; Women's Lacrosse was an IWLCA Division III Academic Honor Squad; Women's Tennis was an ITA Academic Team; Wrestling was ranked 10th in the NWCA academic team standings; and Women's Soccer received the National Soccer Coaches' Association of America (NSCAA) Team Academic Award.

Men's Lacrosse, Women's Tennis and Men's Basketball received the team sportsmanship award from the CCC, as well.

Many Golden Bears were tabbed the CCC Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year in their sport: Tyler Unwin from Men's Tennis, Jesse DeLucca from Men's Lacrosse, Erica Lozy of Women's Cross Country, Clark with Women's Soccer and volleyball's Kucharski. Aimee Klepacki was selected the CCC Women's Lacrosse Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season.

Men's Golf dominated the CCC individual awards as Eric Hedberg was the conference's golfer of the year and Matt Fontaine, the rookie of the year. Taylor Scialdone was the CCC co-Offensive Player of the Year in women's lacrosse as a sophomore after taking the CCC Rookie of the Year award in 2013.

A total of 14 student-athletes earned all-region 19 times: Steve Ambrosino (D3baseball.com All-New England Third Team outfielder), Trevor Breton (D3baseball.com All-New England Third Team pitcher), Cook (D3football.com All-East Region Third Team and Eastern College Athletic Conference [ECAC] Division III North Football All-Star Second Team running back), Obi Etuka (ECAC Division III North Football All-Star First Team defensive back), Dean Soucie (ECAC Division III North Football All-Star Second Team linebacker); Jamison Sacco was named All-New England Wrestling Association; Nicky Donovan (All-New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association [NEILA] Second Team long-stick midfielder); Knapton (All-ECAC New England Division III Second Team All-Star attackman); Lawton (All-ECAC New England Division III Second Team All-Star midfielder and All-NEILA Second Team midfielder); Jack Liacos (All-ECAC New England Division III First Team All-Star and NEILA Second Team defenseman); Jessica Scannapieco (ECAC All-New England Division III Women's Lacrosse First Team All-Star and IWLCA Division III All-Berkshire Region Second Team midfielder); Scialdone (All-ECAC New England Division III Women's Lacrosse First Team All-Star attacker, ECAC New England Offensive Player of the Year and IWLCA Division III All-Berkshire Region Second Team attacker); Sarah Stevens (IWLCA Division III All-Berkshire Region Second Team defender); and Briana Kubik (New England Women's Intercollegiate Soccer Association (NEWISA) Division III First Team goalkeeper).

In addition to Kucharski and McManus, the following Golden Bears advanced to the national ballot for Academic All-America consideration by CoSIDA: Ambrosino and Brendan Nugent on the Division III Baseball All-District® I First Team; Ian Kennedy on the Division III Football All-District® I First Team; DeLucca from Men's Lacrosse on the Division III Men's At-Large All-District® I First Team; Agnelli on the Division III Softball All-District® I First Team. DeLucca, Knapton, Lawton and Liacos also represented men's lacrosse on the NEILA Academic All-Region Team.