WORCESTER, Mass. – The Assumption College Department of Athletics recently held its third annual "Houndies" Student-Athlete Awards Night, honoring the top student-athletes and accomplishments from the 2017-2018 athletic season. The department hosted over 500 student-athletes with the event emceed by Assumption professor Libby O'Hara.
Prior to the festivities, women's lacrosse junior Sarah Reilly (Fairfield, Conn./ Fairfield-Warde) and football junior Stephon Hill (Baltimore, Md. / Boys' Latin School of Maryland) 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 Equipment/Events Manager Ben Ilg, by last year's recipient, Adam Lucassian. Student-Athletes and employees highlighted Ilg in a short video, commenting on the long hours he puts in at Assumption to make sure everything runs smoothly for athletic competitions.
Seniors Cole Tracy (Camarillo, Calif. / Newbury Park) of football and Antonia Pagliuca (Peabody, Mass. / Peabody Veteran's Memorial) of cross country/track & field received the Steve "Merc" Morris `72 Memorial Awards, which are given annually to the top four-year senior student-athletes at Assumption. Tracy was a 3x All-American and also claimed the Fred Mitchell Award as the nation's top kicker in the FCS, Division II and Division III. To go along with Tracy's historic season, his 67 career field goals are the second-most in NCAA Division II history. Pagliuca holds numerous records on the track and has put Assumption on the national map for cross country/track & field. Pagliuca led the Hounds to back-to-back appearances at the XC NCAA National Championships for the first time in school history and helped the squad claim the NCAA East Regional Championship for the first time this fall. On the track, Pagliuca was named the 2018 NE10 Track Performer of the Meet at the NE10 Championships after winning both the 10,000 meters and 5,000 meters events.
Receiving the Rev. Alfred Berthiaume, A.A.`32 Memorial Awards for going "above and beyond" were ice hockey senior captain Cam Laughlin (Natick, Mass. / Portland Jr. Pirates (USPHL Premier)) and women's lacrosse senior captain Erin Gildea (Boca Raton, Fla. / Pope John Paul II) presented by the Associate Director of Athletics for Compliance/SWA, Christine Lowthert. Laughlin has had success on the ice this year as the NE10 Player of the Year. As a co-captain he was also invaluable as a leader on the team and spearheaded the fundraising efforts for the team's Military Appreciation Game. Gildea was a team captain and started every game this season. She is an unselfish player who always puts the needs of her teammates above her own. She is a great example to her peers and has been like another assistant coach this year.
Head Equipment/Events Manager Ben Ilg presented Bouba Coulibaly with the Rev. Joseph Pelletier, A.A. `32 Memorial Award for his work as the Building and Grounds Coordinator and his dedication to Assumption Athletics.
One of last year's recipients, Karolina Dzieminski (Webster, Mass. / Bartlet), presented the "Breakthrough Athlete of the Year" Awards to Derek Adamson (Chelmsford, Mass. / Chelmsford) and Deirdre Burchill (Braintree, Mass. / Braintree). Adamson was a breakout hitter this year for the Assumption baseball team, more tripling his total hits from a season ago. The sophomore had 40 hits and was batting .301 entering the final week of the season, while also leading the entire NE10 in doubles at that time. Burchill burst onto the scene scoring six times in the last eight games of the year. She scored the team's only goal in three different wins, including the game-winning goal in the NE10 Semifinals with just 27 seconds left.
The recipient of the Francis J. Grimaldi `70 Memorial Award for spirit and uncommon courage in the face of adversity was presented to field hockey senior Hayley Martinez (San Jose, Calif. / Branham) by head coach Annie Lahey. Martinez was coming off of an excellent junior campaign and was primed for a big senior season before a torn ACL in preseason sidelined her for the whole year. Martinez didn't let the setback affect her passion for her team or the game, a she became an extension of the coaching staff and was invaluable as a mentor for her younger teammates.
Earning the Rev. Armand Desautels, A.A. Memorial Awards were seniors Jedidiah Scott (Acton, Maine / Sanford) of football and Allison Sheahan (Higganum, Conn. / Haddam-Killingworth) of field hockey for their success as scholar athletes over the past four years. This season, Scott became the first football player to be named a First-Team Academic All-American. He owns a GPA over 3.8 and in 2017 started every game on the defensive line, helping Assumption win the NE10 Championship and reach the NCAA Quarterfinals. Sheahan is a three-time All-American and has led her team to the NE10 Championship Game twice. She leaves as the program's all-time leader in goals and ranks third all-time in points. She has registered a GPA over 3.4 and has been an Academic All-Conference selection.
The Andrew Laska "Athlete of the Year" Award is given to "the most dominant male and female athlete" of the 2017-2018 season. Interim Athletic director Pete Gardula presented junior women's soccer standout Kallie Villemaire (Plattsburgh, N.Y. / Beekmantown) and junior football standout Deonte Harris (Baltimore, Md. / Archbishop Curley) with the honor. Villemaire was dominant as she led the conference and ranked third in the entire nation with a school-record 20 goals in 2017. She was honored as the NE10 Player of the Year and was named a third-team All-American by two different organizations. Harris rewrote the record books in 2017, all while earning NE10 MVP honors and First-Team All-America honors from three different organizations. The junior set three different NCAA Division II touchdown return records while leading the Hounds to the NCAA Quarterfinals.
Receiving the "Best Moment of the Year" honor was the Assumption field hockey team for winning the NE10 Semifinals on a last-minute goal. Head Coach Annie Lahey and the seniors accepted the award from Pete Gardula. The game was tied 0-0 in the final minute of regulation in the NE10 Semifinals against the No. 2 seeded Stonehill Skyhawks, when Deirdre Burchill scored the game-winner with just 27 seconds left to lift the Hounds to the NE10 Championships Game.