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Seton Hall Holds SAAC Banquet to Commemorate 2015-16 Season


April 25, 2016

South Orange, N.J. - The Seton Hall University Department of Athletics held its annual Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Awards Banquet on Monday, recognizing student-athletes for their achievements in the classroom and on the field of play during the 2015-16 academic year.

The SAAC Awards Banquet honors both scholastic and competitive accomplishments. In addition, awards are presented to outstanding male and female student-athletes from the freshman, sophomore and junior classes.

Senior Female and Male Athlete of the Year Awards will be handed out at the fourth-annual Senior Banquet; to be held on Tuesday, May 10 at Maplewood Country Club.

In the junior class, Tessa Fournier (Redondo Beach, Calif.) of volleyball and men's golf standout Lloyd Jefferson Go (Guadalupe Cebu, Philippines) repeated as Athletes of the Year after both won Sophomore Athlete of the Year in 2015.

Softball's Alexis Walkden (Cibolo, Texas) also repeated, taking Female Sophomore Athlete of the Year honors after winning as a freshman last year. Male Sophomore Athlete of the Year went to Isaiah Whitehead (Brooklyn, N.Y.) of men's basketball.

Men's swimming & diving newcomer Lior Grubert (Yehudi-Monosson, Israel) captured Male Freshman of the Year honors, and this year there were co-Female Freshman of the Year winners in Eva Gonzalez of women's soccer and Sophia Coffey of volleyball.

The third-annual Saint John Paul II Sport and Spirituality Award went to Cora Meehan (Noblesville, Ind.) of women's swimming & diving. The award was instituted in 2013-14 to recognize a senior who exemplifies the virtues lauded by the "Athlete Pope."

The academic awards were presented by Matt Geibel, Director of Academic Support Services for Student-Athletes, and Faculty Athletic Representative Dr. Laura Schopmmann. As a group, Seton Hall University student-athletes currently hold a cumulative GPA of 3.353, a new all-time high. Monday night's banquet provided the opportunity to highlight their collective commitment to academic excellence and reward those who have performed at an exceptional level in the classroom.

The Baseball and women's tennis teams were the recipients of the Team Academic Awards for posting the highest cumulative GPAs after the fall semester. Women's tennis represented the females with an impressive 3.589 GPA. The baseball team came in strong with a 3.380 GPA to represent the males.

Jacob Bast (St. Louis, Mo.) of men's cross country was named the Male Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year. A four-year runner, Bast graduates next month with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and is a seven-time member of Seton Hall's Dean's List.

Women's Soccer's Emily Hansinger (Mount Laurel, N.J.) was named the Female Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year. A four-year member of the team and co-captain, Hansinger graduates next month with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and has made Dean's List in every semester and the BIG EAST All-Academic team all three years.

The Junior Scholar-Athletes were Julian Spindler (Weiersbach, Germany) of men's soccer and Melody Bush (Guelph, Ontario) of women's swimming & diving. The Sophomore Scholar-Athletes were Mike Alescio (Fair Haven, N.J.) of baseball and Katie Landes (Stony Point, N.Y. ) of women's soccer. The Freshmen Scholar-Athletes were Taylor Cutcliff (Springfield, Pa.) of women's soccer, Amy Vandergriff (Saginaw, Texas) of volleyball, Emily Supercynski (Aurora, Colo.) of softball and Peyton Elder (Cary, N.C.) of men's soccer. All four freshmen achieved 4.0 GPAs in the fall semester.

The Seton Hall Academic All-Star Team, comprised of the 10 student-athletes with the highest cumulative GPA through a minimum of two full semesters, included Bush, Hansinger, Landes, Spindler, Desyre Blackburn (Aloha, Ore. ) of women's cross country, Ian Campbell (Corvallis, Ore.) of men's swimming & diving, Isabell Klingert (Oberbalbach, Germany) of women's tennis, Jackson Martin (Collegeville, Pa.) of baseball, Bri Miller (Bayonne, N.J. ) of women's cross country and Shakena Richardson (Neptune, N.J.) of women's basketball.

Hansinger has now achieved academic all-star status all three years she has been eligible. Martin and Spindler each now have two consecutive academic all-star designations.

2015-16 SETON HALL STUDENT-ATHLETES OF THE YEAR

Tessa Fournier
WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL
JUNIOR FEMALE STUDENT-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
  • Named an AVCA All-America Honorable Mention for the second consecutive year
  • Named BIG EAST Libero of the Year for the second straight season
  • Selected to to the All-BIG EAST first team
  • Led the BIG EAST in digs (583) and digs per set (5.16)
Lloyd Jefferson Go
MEN'S GOLF
JUNIOR MALE STUDENT-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
  • Eight top-10 finishes in 10 tournament appearances
  • Had a second-place finish at the Carlton Oaks WIU Invitational, which the Pirates won
  • Shot a year-best nine-under-par 66-69-72 en route to a fourth-place finish at the Loyola Invitational
  • Has recorded 17 sub-par or at-par rounds this year
Alexis Walkden
SOFTBALL
SOPHOMORE FEMALE STUDENT-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
  • Hitting .383 with eight home runs, 38 RBI and 35 runs scored
  • Leads the BIG EAST in total bases (92) and walks drawn (33)
  • Also ranks in the top 10 of the BIG EAST in batting average, slugging (.652), on-base percentage (.508), runs scored, home runs and stolen bases (12)
  • Two-time BIG EAST Player of the Week, including this past week when she hit .750 in four games
Isaiah Whitehead
MEN'S BASKETBALL
SOPHOMORE MALE STUDENT-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
  • Named Associated Press All-America honorable mention
  • 2016 BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Player after leading Pirates to the BIG EAST title and NCAA Tournament automatic bid
  • 2016 Met Writers Haggerty Award as the Metro New York Player of the Year
  • Finished second in the BIG EAST in scoring (18.2 PPG) and assists (5.1 APG)
Lior Grubert
MEN'S SWIMMING & DIVING
FRESHMAN MALE STUDENT-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
  • Won the BIG EAST championship in the 200 IM and 400 IM
  • Finished in the top 10 in all four BIG EAST Championship events he competed in, earning All-BIG EAST honors four times
  • Had 23 first-places finishes on the season
  • Four-time BIG EAST Performer of the Week, a new program record
Eva Gonzalez
WOMEN'S SOCCER
FRESHMAN FEMALE STUDENT-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
  • Named to the BIG EAST All-Rookie team, only the sixth in team history
  • Finished tied for the team lead in assists with two
  • Member of the Mexican U-20 National Team
Sophia Coffey
VOLLEYBALL
FRESHMAN FEMALE STUDENT-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
  • Ranked sixth in the BIG EAST and led the team in assists per set (9.51/set)
  • Second on the team in digs (269) and digs per set (2.42)
  • Led the Pirates with 10 double-doubles, including a career-high 57 assists and 20 digs in a match at Butler