Stags and Alumni Honored at Annual Athletics Awards Banquet


Stags and Alumni Honored at Annual Athletics Awards Banquet

Several student and alumni athletes were recognized at the annual Athletics Awards Banquet last month.

Three Stag legends were inducted into the Alumni Association Hall of Fame for 2012-13: cross country runner Erin Heslin Lopez '03 , rugby player William Connolly , Jr. '69 , and men’s lacrosse player Greg Downing '07, whose teammate Timothy Gazzini '07 received the award on his behalf. (The group is pictured at right with Athletics Director Gene Doris and Alumni Association President Maureen (Errity) Bujno '90.)

Greg Downing was one of the top lacrosse players at Fairfield University and in the nation during his four years with the Stags. He was a three-time NCAA All-America Honorable Mention and garnered numerous honors including a spot on the College Lacrosse USA Third Team and the USILA All-Star Team in 2007. Downing also earned All-New England and All-ECAC Lacrosse honors, as well as the Greater Western Lacrosse League Offensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year awards.

In her first two seasons, Erin Heslin Lopez was the Stags' top-finisher in every women’s cross country meet. During her sophomore year, she posted the best time in school history at the ECAC Championship, a team she would beat in 2001 and 2002. Her performances still remain among the top-20 all-time at Fairfield.

Bill Connolly was a four-year member of the Fairfield University Rugby Football Club and helped mold the program into one of the top clubs in the college ranks. On the field, Connolly helped lead the Rugby Club to one of its best years in school history in 1968-69. As team president during that historic run, he made his mark by organizing the dedication of Lt. Hans Grauert Memorial Field, the first collegiate field in the country dedicated to the sport of rugby. Since he left Fairfield, Connolly has remained active in the sport and with the University, as a Trustee from 1992-98 and as a founding member and officer of Friends of Fairfield Rugby. Read Connolly’s profile in the recent issue of Fairfield University Magazine.


Student Athletics Awards

Six current student-athletes received recognition.

As the men's soccer starting goalkeeper for the last four seasons, Michael O'Keeffe finished his career as one of the top players in program history. O'Keeffe garnered the Male Athlete of the Year Award for the second consecutive year and was also named the Alumni Association Male Scholar Athlete of the Year to cap-off his stellar career at Fairfield. O'Keeffe is also the recipient of a Fairfield Student Achievement Award and is a MAAC All-Academic and Dean's List selection.

Volleyball player Rachel Romansky was awarded Female Athlete of the Year, and was also named the MAAC Setter of the Year for the second consecutive season. She guided the volleyball team to the 2012 MAAC Championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. She hasn't missed a match in three seasons and has played in 344 of a possible 345 sets.

Kristin Schatzlein , who was named one of the Fairfield Freshmen of the Year, played a key role in helping the women's basketball team earn another postseason berth and victory. She appeared in all 32 games off the bench, and received to MAAC All-Rookie Team honors.

Mike Wallace , the other Fairfield Freshmen of the Year, is currently one of the top freshman pitchers in the MAAC. He has picked up three victories as the Stags' number one starter with a 3.35 ERA in 40.1 innings of work.

Senior softball player Emily Orr received the William Wallin Award for sportsmanship, character, and leadership on and off the field. Orr has played an integral part in the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) over the last four years. She served as the co-president this year and was the driving force behind the Special Olympics Dodgeball Tournament. On the diamond, she's been an important member of the Stags pitching staff.

The Alumni Association Female Scholar Athlete of the Year was junior softball player Lauren Liseth . In the classroom, Liseth is a member of the Alpha Sigma Nu honor society and has earned Dean's List honors five times. Liseth is also one of the nation's top hitters, and has also been named MAAC Player of the Week twice.

In addition, the ECAC Certificate of Appreciation was presented to Fausto Lopez and Fr. George Gallarelli, both cherished members of the Fairfield University Athletics family.

Click here to see photos from the event.

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