A Banner Year for Devils and Knights
Both the Devils and Knights appeared in NCAA Tournaments. The Devils winning the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship, the Knights Women's Tennis team appeared at the NCAA Tournament.(top photo by W. Scott Giglio) (bottom photo by Christopher Strauch)
By Sara Chamberlain
In the classroom and in the athletic arena, itís been a banner year for Fairleigh Dickinson Universityís student-athletes. From high grades to record-setting marks, from postseason bids to a national championship, the triumphs have inspired the entire University community.
ďOur coaches continue working to find the best qualified student-athletes so they can increase the performance level of our teams,Ē Metropolitan Campus Director of Athletics David Langford said. ďEach year they get better at it and it shows in competition, in the classroom and in the community.Ē
ďThe success we have seen with our teams, especially womenís basketball, shows that we as an institution are of capable of anything,Ē Florham Campus Director of Athletics Bill Klika said. ďLast year we won five conference championships and this year a National Championship. We have now begun to raise everyoneís sights and show that winning a conference championship is a stepping stone to bigger things.Ē
At the Florham Campus, the crowning moment occurred when the womenís basketball team captured the title of NCAA Division III National Championship after defeating Whitman College, 80-72, making them the first NCAA womenís basketball champion in New Jersey history. Yet, this was not their only achievement - the team also finished with a perfect record of 33-0.
The Devils reached the postseason in menís basketball, menís soccer and womenís soccer, too. Spring sports teams have also made their mark, reaching the postseason in menís and womenís lacrosse, menís tennis, softball and baseball, making appearances in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Tournament.
The FDU Knights too saw great success during the 2013-14 season. The womenís tennis team picked up its third straight Northeast Conference Championship win and appeared in the NCAA Tournament playing against No. 6 California, and the womenís bowling team was chosen for their 10th NCAA tournament appearance in the programís 11 year history, while also picking up Northeast Conference awards nine weeks in a row and having two bowlers, junior Liat Vizenfeld and freshman Melanie Hannon named National Tenpin Coaches Association First Team All-Americans, with Hannon voted the Division I Rookie of the Year.
The Knights have also had an outstanding year in menís basketball shocking critics by taking down state ďbigĒ schools Rutgers and Seton Hall on their way to reaching the NEC Tournament for the first time in four seasons. Menís tennis, womenís soccer, menís and womenís cross country, menís and womenís track and field and womenís softball team (reaching the NEC Tournament for the first time) all competed in postseason play.
ďAs a University our student athletes have given fellow students, faculty, staff, alumni and parents something to be proud of as they call FDU home. They have shown success on and off the field by receiving academic recognition and volunteering their time to local non-profit organizations. We commend these students for all of their hard work and dedication,Ē University President Sheldon Drucker said.
FDU student-athletes have not only had success on the field and in the community, but also in the classroom. Forty-seven members of the Devils, for example, placed on the MAC fall academic honor roll, while 12 members of the Devils field hockey team were named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association 2013 National Academic Squad.
Vizenfeld was named 2013-2014 NEC winter scholar-athlete for womenís bowling, while 12 more Knights were named to the Commissionerís Honor Roll and 29 were named to the winter academic honor roll. For the fall, the Knights had 49 student-athletes named to the Academic Honor Roll, and 16 of those student-athletes were place on the Commissioner's Honor Roll. In addition, the menís and womenís soccer team received the College Team Academic Award by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Student-athletes also made enormous contributions to their communities. For example, they participate in on campus activities including Relay For Life, the Devils womenís field hockey team volunteered at Super Baskets of Hope, while the Florham Campus Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) held volleyball tournaments to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the SAAC Olympics to raise funds for a fellow student-athlete. The Knights menís basketball team took time to volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club of Lodi and Hackensack, N.J. and the Metropolitan Campus SAAC helped with Hurricane Sandy cleanup; worked at the Five-Star Premier Living, senior living facility, hosting a fall dance and activities, and volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club of America assisting with homework and hosting activities in the gym.
Some of this seasonís top accolades by members of the Devils and Knights include:
- Head Coach Marc Mitchell named Coach of the Year by Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association, Russell Athletic Womenís Basketball Coaches Association, 2014 Schelde Sports/Womenís DIII Coach of the Year and by D3Hoops.com.
- Womenís Basketball junior Kyra Dayon named tournament MVP at the NCAA Division III Womenís Basketball Championship.
- Menís Tennis seniors A.J. Warden and Kevin Kotsak earned 50 career wins.
- Menís Golf senior Matt Molinari took first place at the Freedom Conference Championship and was named Conference Player of the Year.
- Menís Basketball seniors Trevor Sykes and Will Green join the 1,000 point club.
- Menís Swimming relay team of Kevin Andrews, Stephen OíBrien, David Padilla and David Warren break school record in the 200 and 400 yard medley.
- Womenís Lacrosse junior Courtney Rendinaro breaks the programís all-time assists record and named Freedom Conference Offensive Player of the Year.
- Menís Soccer Nicholas Walker named NEC Defensive Player of the Year, First Team All-NEC and drafted by the professional soccer team the FC Dallas.
- Menís Basketball senior Sidney Sanders Jr. named NEC Most Improved Player and First Team All-NEC
- Menís Tennis junior Arvis Berzins becomes the first person in NEC history to earn player of the year three times.
- Menís Track and Field graduate student Jared Hanko takes first place in the 800 meters at the Indoor and Outdoor NEC Championships.
- Jasper Savoy and Jenya Dyagilev were named All-East for indoor track and field in their respected events
- Womenís Soccer Sage DoVale named NEC Goalkeeper of the Year, First Team All-NEC, NJAIAW Woman of the Year and FDUís NCAA Woman of the Year representative.
- Womenís Bowling junior Liat Vizenfeld named NTCA First Team All-American, NEC Bowler of the Year, First Team All-NEC; freshman Melanie Hannon named NTCA First Team All-American, Division I Rookie of the Year, First Team All-NEC, NEC Rookie of the Year; senior Michelle Hunzaker named Honorable Mention All-American, First Team All-NEC.