SIMSBURY, Conn. – The University of Hartford men's and women's soccer teams celebrated its 2017 seasons at the annual Soccer Excellence Banquet on Saturday, Feb. 10, at the Riverview in Simsbury.
In addition to reflecting on the successes both on and off the pitch, the Soccer Excellence Banquet allows the men's and women's soccer teams to honor their graduating seniors. The women's team has two members slated to graduate in May in Melina Spanos and Brenna Kelley, while the men will have a trio members — Mike Barry, Andre Morrison and Jake Slomski — graduating in May.
The Soccer Excellence Fund was originally created in 2000 with the goal of promoting the pursuit of excellence in Hartford soccer in the areas of academics, citizenship and sport performance. Each year, four awards are presented at the Soccer Excellence Banquet, with each honor representing one of the three areas.
The first award was the Soccer Excellence Scholar Athlete Award, which is presented annually to the member of the men's and women's soccer team with the highest combined grade point average of the previous fall and spring semesters. This year, Hartford Faculty Athletics Representative Dr. Catherine Certo presented Sierra Stone (women's soccer) and Fredrik Ekman with this distinction.
The Soccer Excellence Citizenship Award is presented annually to one male and one female who has demonstrated active participation in community service projects as part of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, on campus or in the community. Members of the Soccer Excellence Executive Committee presented Molly Socha (women's soccer) and Jake Slomski (men's soccer) with this honor.
The final two Soccer Excellence awards — the Most Improved Player and the Pat Meiser Most Valuable Player — focus on student-athlete's performances on the pitch. Connor Yeaney, Class of 2015, presented the Men's Most Improved Player Award to Jake Slomski, while Stephanie Santos, Class of 2016, presented Gabriela Gamory with the Women's Most Improved Player Award.
The Pat Meiser Most Valuable Player award is voted on by members of the men's and women's teams, respectively. Jhamie Hyde, Class of 2016, presented Andre Morrison as The Pat Meiser Most Valuable Player for the men, and Tammy O'Brien, Class of 1993, presented Molly Socha as The Pat Meiser Most Valuable Player for the women.
Lastly, Hartford's head soccer coaches Tom Poitras and John Natale presented Mario Maselli, Hartford Print Services Manager, with the Soccer Excellence Special Recognition Award for his contributions to Hartford soccer and the Department of Athletics.