2017 in Review: Hawks Athletics

2017 saw the 'Hawks soar higher' as several teams earned conference championships, and advanced to NCAA tournament play. Student-athletes welcomed several new coaches to the ranks, while the Department of Athletics resurrected old traditions and established new ones.

Saint Anselm Hawks volleyballHawks volleyball manufactured a historic season on several fronts, including the program's first-ever victory in the NE-10 Tournament, as the sixth-seeded squad outlasted third-seeded Bentley University, 19-25, 25-22, 25-20, 22-25, 17-15 in the quarterfinals. Saint Anselm entered the match with an 0-12 record in nine appearances in the NE10 Championship and had never won a match at Bentley, while the Falcons were appearing in the tournament for the 35th time in its 37 seasons.

For the first time in program history, the team earned an NCAA Tournament bid, landing the No. 7 seed in the East Region of the 2017 Division II Women's Volleyball Championship. The historic season drew to a close as Molloy College rallied from two sets down to defeat the Hawks, 23-25, 18-25, 25-22, 25-22, 15-9

Senior outside hitter Katy Teets and junior setter Jewel Hays each were named to the All-NE10 Second Team, sophomore middle Madison Sollows was selected to the All-NE10 Third Team and freshman middle Holly Manchester was an All-Rookie team pick.

Saint Anselm Hawks field hockeySaint Anselm’s field hockey team earned an NCAA DII tournament bid for the second time in as many seasons. Led by team captains Emma Kincaid, Katie Neyland, and Erin Collins, the field hockey team closed out their 2017 campaign by clinching the Northeast-10 Conference Regular Season Championship with a home victory against American International College. After qualifying for the NE-10 playoffs for the third consecutive season, the team lost in a double-overtime heartbreaker against division rival LIU Post. The squad entered the NCAA tournament ranked fourth in the nation, drawing a first-round contest against Millersville University. The Hawks battled the Marauders into another double-overtime contest, but were ultimately edged 1-0, ending this year's bid for the NCAA title.

The field hockey team collected several individual honors at the end of their season. Kincaid became the first-ever Hawks recipient of the Longstreth/National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division II Offensive Player of the Week. Kincaid finished her season one goal and two assists shy of setting two program records. Defensive star Collins and head coach Carolyn King-Robitaille headlined the seven NE-10 individual All-Conference awards collected by members of the field hockey program. Collins was tabbed as the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year, and King-Robitaille collected her second consecutive Coach of the Year award after leading the Hawks to a 17-1 overall and 11-1 divisional record.

Saint Anselm Hawks men's basketballThe men’s basketball team captured the NE-10 championship in a fantastic game against top-seeded Southern New Hampshire University. The Hawks were led by a game-high 26 points from Northeast-10 Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player Cody Ball as they overcame an early deficit en route to the 73 – 68 victory. The squad earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament before they fell in the first round to Saint Thomas Aquinas College.

The women’s basketball team advanced to the NE-10 Conference Semifinals for the first time in 17 years. The season was full of program and personal achievements, as seniors Caitlyn Abela and Candace Andrews both cemented their legacies by crossing the prestigious 1,000-point threshold against Assumption College and Southern New Hampshire University, respectively. The team bid farewell to head coach Julie Plant, who stepped down after posting back-to-back 18-plus win seasons for the first time since legendary coach Donna Guimont accomplished the feat in 1993 and 1994. The Hawks welcomed Corey Boilard as their new skipper for the 2017-18 season.

Men’s hockey also bid farewell to a beloved member of their coaching staff as 15-year head coach Ed Seney retired. Throughout his tenure at the Hilltop, Seney’s squad collected an impressive eight NE-10 regular season titles and seven NE-10 tournament championships. Seney posted a final record of 202-162-36 and earned four NE-10 Coach of the Year awards. In his final season, the Hawks earned the top seed for the championship tournament before falling to Assumption College 4-3 in the semifinals. The Hawks tabbed Jim Tortorella to lead them in the upcoming season.

Saint Anselm Hawks women's hockeyThe women’s team won the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) Open for the seventh time in program history by edging Holy Cross University in an overtime thriller. They finished the season on a 14 – 0 unbeaten streak, tied for the second-longest in program history. Incredibly, the squad was able to add three skaters – Alex StarzykAlison Butler, and Alison Quinn – to the prestigious 100-point club, bringing the membership total up to eight skaters.

Seniors Alex Pacitti and Mark Vitello were both named 2017 United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA)/Nike Division II Scholar All-Americans. The duo also received academic honors through the New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (NEILA) when they were named to the All-New England teams. The team finished their season ranked fourteenth nationally in a heartbreaking overtime loss to Pace University in the first round of the NE-10 Championship Tournament.

Saint Anselm student-athletes excelled both on and off the field this year, as 144 students representing all 20 intercollegiate teams were named to the 2017 Spring Dean’s List.

Behind the scenes, the Department of Athletics was busy in the past year re-establishing old traditions, and implementing new ones as well.

After reestablishing the Athletic Hall of Fame in October of 2016, the Saint Anselm College Department of Athletics announced two inductees, former athletic director Dr. Jo-Ann E. Nester and men’s lacrosse standout Kevin DeBenedetto ’10, to the class of 2017 in January. In early November, the department announced seven alumni will be inducted into the Hall of Fame Class of 2018.

First issued in September 2017, the "Hawks Soar Higher" Award was created to allow the Department of Athletics to recognize individuals that are instrumental to the College's efforts to offer a first class, transformational student-athlete experience. The award is issued each month during the academic year to two individuals employed by the institution outside of athletics.

Recipients will be colleagues, faculty, staff or administrators that advocate for Saint Anselm student-athletes and who go above and beyond in their contributions each day on the Hilltop.