Courtesy of ECC Media Relations
CENTRAL ISLIP, NY - The East Coast Conference announced the 2011-2012 Male and Female Scholar-Athletes of the Year, as well as the Scholar-Athletes of the Year for all of its sponsored sports at the ECC Awards Dinner on May 23. Andrew Tartara (Bardonia, N.Y.) of the St. Thomas Aquinas College men's soccer team was named the Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Lisa Peacock (Lindenhurst, N.Y.) of the New York Institute of Technology volleyball team took home the Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Tartara, a psychology major with a 3.7 grade point average, helped the Spartans advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. A goalkeeper, Tartara ranked third in the conference in both goals against average and save percentage. His outstanding play in front of the net earned him a spot on the ECC All-Conference Second Team. Tartara was also named the 2011 Men's Soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
After completing her undergraduate degree with a 3.65 GPA, Peacock went on to start her masters in childhood education and currently holds a 4.0 GPA. She helped her volleyball team to a second place finish in the ECC this season while leading the conference in digs. A three-time ECC Libero of the Year winner, she was named to the AVCA All-East Region Honorable Mention team. Peacock also earned the distinction of the 2011 Volleyball Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive year.
2011-2012 ECC Scholar Athletes of the Year
Baseball – James Stone (Massapequa, N.Y.), C.W. Post: Stone, a Second Team All-Conference selection after posting a 4-2 record on the mound to go along with a conference leading 1.61 earned run average, was also a standout in the classroom. The senior posted a 3.53 GPA as a business administration major.
Men's Basketball – Nick Lopez (Jackson, N.J.), St. Thomas Aquinas: Lopez, a business administration major with a 3.71 GPA, saw action in all 26 games with 22 starts for the Spartans. He chipped in with 4.7 points per game, 4.0 rebounds per game, and 27 assists on the season.
Women's Basketball – Sarah Schicher (Vienna, Austria), Dowling: Holding a 3.76 GPA as a communication arts major, Schicher was an integral part of the Golden Lions winning their first conference championship in nine years. An All-Conference First Team member and the Co-Most Outstanding Player of the ECC Tournament, Schicher averaged 9.9 points per game, 7.2 rebounds per game, and led the conference with 66 blocks.
Men's Cross Country – Nick DiBenedetto (Wantagh, N.Y.), Molloy: DiBenedetto, a junior history education major, currently holds a 3.89 GPA and crossed the finish line in 27:24.23 to place 13th at the ECC Championships.
Women's Cross Country – Sarah Santos (Norwalk, Conn.), Bridgeport: A Doctor of Chiropractic major carrying a 3.79 GPA, Santos was named to the 2011 All-Conference Second Team after finishing eighth at the ECC Championship, crossing the finish line in a time of 20:00.79.
Men's Lacrosse – Greg Bensman (West Seneca, N.Y.), Mercyhurst: Bensman wraps up a decorated career at Mercyhurst with the ECC Men's Lacrosse Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award. After being named the USILA Long Pole Midfielder of the Year and winning a National Championship in 2011, Bensman was even better as a senior. He took home both the ECC Player and Defensive Player of the Year awards in 2012, while also excelling in the classroom with a 3.34 GPA as a finance major.
Women's Lacrosse – Alana Gund (Lindenhurst, N.Y.), Dowling: With a 3.75 GPA in special education and social science, Gund anchored the Golden Lion defense that earned the ECC Title. She was also an All-Conference honoree, earning a spot on the First Team.
Softball – Jessie Stavola (Montauk, N.Y.), Dowling: One of the most dominant pitchers to ever play in the ECC, Stavola earns the Softball Scholar-Athlete of the Year with a 3.86 GPA as a physical education major. A two-time ECC Pitcher of the Year, Stavola wrapped up her career at Dowling with a 22-9 record to go along with a 1.39 earned run average and 282 strikeouts in 192 innings pitched. Her success on the diamond and in the classroom also earned her a spot on the Capital One Academic All-America Second Team.
Men's Tennis – Bruno Reich (Rio De Janeiro, Brazil), University of the District of Columbia: Reich, a two-time All-Conference honoree who ranked 18th in the East Region with a 17-2 mark in singles play, boasts a perfect 4.00 GPA as a senior marketing major.
Women's Tennis - Erika Goldsmith (Edison, N.J.), Queens: Goldsmith takes home the Women's Tennis Scholar-Athlete Award for the second consecutive year. She was also awarded for her play on the court as she was named the 2011 ECC Women's Tennis Player of the Year. A biology and geology major with a 3.4 GPA, Goldsmith ranked first in the region and 23rd in the nation in doubles play and helped her team reach the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament.