A Look Back at the Second Annual Houndies Awards Night

Full Photo Gallery (photos by Gil Talbot)

WORCESTER, Mass.  - The Assumption College Department of Athletics held its second annual Houndies Awards Night on Monday, May 1 to honor the student athletes after an impressive 2016-2017 year. The department hosted over 500 student-athletes, and the event was emceed by Assumption Alumni Mike Uva (14'). 

Before the night kicked off, football junior Sam Blake (East Longmeadow, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson Academy) and women's lacrosse junior Sarah Reilly (Fairfield, Conn./ Fairfield-Warde) hosted a red carpet event, which included interviews with many of the nominees from the night's event.

The first award presented for the evening was the Jim Mullen'78 Spirit Award which is given to a staff member or student that embodies the spirit of Assumption College Athletics. The award was presented to trainer Adam Lucassian, by the Assistant Director of Athletics for Sports Medicine Gwen Chiaranda. The student athletes, and other employees highlighted Lucassians' hard work and dedication to not only the teams he works with, but all of Assumption Athletics. Lucassian has been there for many student-athletes helping with recovery from injury and his commitment to his teams did not go unnoticed. 

Seniors Jarrod Casey (Milford, Mass. / Bridgton Academy) of football and Andrea Koslowski (Warren, Mass. / Quaboag Regional) of field hockey received the Steve "Merc" Morris `72 Memorial Awards, which are given annually to the top four-year senior student-athletes at Assumption. In 2015, Casey was named the NE10 Championship Most Outstanding Player after intercepting a pass in the endzone to clinch the title. He was a three-time All-Conference selection and two-time All-Region selection.  Koslowski was selected as First Team All-Conference and named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association and Synapse Sports Second-Team All-American. She was ranked third in the conference for defensive saves with six and also added 12 points for the Hounds. Both captains were presented with the awards by Senior Associate Director of Athletics, Peter Gardula.

Receiving the Rev. Alfred Berthiaume, A.A.`32 Memorial Awards for going "above and beyond" were baseball senior captain Jake Byrne (Grafton, Mass. / Saint John's) and women's lacrosse senior captain Jaclyn Chirco (Hopkinton, Mass. / Hopkinton) presented by the Associate Director of Athletics for Compliance/SWA, Christine Lowthert. Byrne, a captain, produced a .301 batting average, to go with 47 hits and 30 RBI. He is known for his leadership off the field, coordinating team visits to the hospital to visit Ari Schultz at the hospital. Chirco has been the starting goaltender for the women's lacrosse team for all four years, holding a school record for most wins with 32 and has recorded 606 career saves. She is known for her positive attitude and support for not only her teammates but other student-athletes as well by attending multiple sporting events throughout her four years. Both seniors have made a great impact on the athletic department working games, events, and helping with everyday operations.

Head women's basketball coach Kerry Phayre presented Kevin Hickey with the Rev. Joseph Pelletier, A.A. `32 Memorial Award for his work as the Faculty Athletics Representative for 28 years and his dedication to Assumption College Athletics.

Strength and Conditioning Coach, Chris Grautski, presented the "Breakthrough Athlete of the Year" Award to Justin Ireland (Norton, Mass. / Norton), while Karolina Dzieminski (Webster, Mass./ Bartlet) and Courtney Fisher (Peterborough, N.H. / Contoocook Valley Regional) shared honors for Female Breakthrough Athlete of the Year. Ireland had an impressive rookie debut, winning indoor track & field NE10 Rookie of the Week honors every single week he competed. He was named NE10 Indoor Track Rookie of the Year after finishing fourth overall in the 60 meter and 200 meter dash in the NE10 Championships. He also set a school record in the 300 meter dash. Dzieminski walked onto the rowing team this season earning herself a spot in the varsity eight. This season she helped the rowing team break a 30-year old school record and rank third in the entire East Region. Fisher, a junior cross country runner, finished 13th at the NE10 Championship to help her team to a program best second place finish, before becoming the top finisher for the Hounds at the NCAA Championship. On top of that, she earned All-Region honors by placing ninth at the NCAA regionals.

The recipient of the Francis J. Grimaldi `70 Memorial Award for spirit and uncommon courage in the face of adversity was presented to men's ice hockey senior Nick Commesso (Marshfield, Mass. / Walpole Express (AJHL)) by emcee Mike Uva. After the loss of his mother last summer, Commesso bounced back and led the Hounds to their first NE10 title in program history, along with being named NE10 Tournament MVP after making 65 saves in the Championship game. 

Earning the Rev. Armand Desautels, A.A. Memorial Awards were seniors Alex Shain (Sanford, Maine / Sanford) of football and Rachel Avard (Manchester, N.H. / Manchester West) of women's cross country/track and field for their success as scholar athletes over the past four years. Shain finished his football career fourth all-time with 1,798 rushing yards and third in rushing touchdowns with 20. Off the field, Shain recorded a 3.5 GPA as an Economics major, earning CoSIDA Second Team Academic All-American honors for the first time in program history. Avard, a three sport athlete with a 3.9 GPA has been named Academic All-Conference six times. She was also part of the first Assumption cross country team which competed in the NCAA Championships.

The Andrew Laska "Athlete of the Year" Award is given to "the most dominant male and female athlete" of the 2016-2017 season. Athletic director Nick Smith presented senior women's cross country/ track and field standout Antonia Pagliuca (Peabody, Mass. / Peabody Veteran's Memorial) and baseball senior Andrew Jaehnig (Quincy, Mass. / Boston College) with the honor.  Pagliuca was an All-Region selection who helped the cross country team compete in the NCAA Championships this year for the first time in program history. She currently holds three school records and has the fastest 5000 meter time in the entire region and the third fastest time in the 10,000 meters. As a junior, Jaehnig had a dominant year at the plate for the Hounds, hitting his way to the NE10 batting title while also holding the top average in the East Region after batting a robust .401 on the season. He also owned the top slugging percentage in the conference and ranked third in the East Region with a mark of .637, which was .67 points higher than the runner up in the NE10. Jaehnig also finished second in the NE10 with 16 doubles and 63 hits, while ranking in the top ten in home runs (five), RBI (33), triples (three) and on base percentage (.449) 

Receiving the "Best Moment of the Year" honor was the Assumption Men's Ice Hockey team for winning the first NE10 Championship in program history. Head Coach Lance Brady accepted the award from Nick Smith, Director of Athletics. The men's ice hockey team was seeded fourth in the tournament and defeated No. 1 seed Saint Anselm in the semifinals to reach the Championship game for the first time since 2010. The Hounds were down 2-0 in the final against Saint Michael's, before scoring three unanswered goals to win in overtime. 

Full Video of Finalists and Acceptance Speeches

Jim Mullen '78 Spirit Award Presentation
Male Steve "Merc" Morris `72 Memorial Award Presentation
Female Steve "Merc" Morris `72 Memorial Award Presentation
Female Rev. Alfred Berthiaume, A.A. `32 Memorial Award Presentation
Male Rev. Alfred Berthiaume, A.A. `32 Memorial Award Presentation
Rev. Joseph Pelletier, A.A. `32 Memorial Award Presentation
- Male Breakthrough Athlete of the Year Award Presentation
Female Breakthrough Athlete of the Year Award Presentation
- Francis J. Grimaldi `70 Memorial Award Presentation
Male Rev. Armand Desautels, A.A. Memorial Award Presentation
Female Rev. Armand Desautels, A.A. Memorial Award Presentation
Female Andrew Laska "Athlete of the Year" Award Presentation
Male Andrew Laska "Athlete of the Year" Award Presentation
2016-2017 "Best Moment" Award Presentation

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