The Laurentian Voyageurs handed out their annual awards on Thursday night. Leading the way was basketball player, Kadre Gray, and soccer player, Caitlin McNamara, who were named the Male and Female Athletes of the Year. The Male and Female Rookie of the Year went to rower, Charles Alexander, and hockey player, Shanna Dolighan. Long-time assistant coach, Cassidy Throssell, was presented with the Special Voyageur Award while Allison Pilon from the women’s soccer team, Ellery Veerman for the women’s hockey team and Nelson Yengue from the men’s basketball team were presented with the prestigious Voyageur Award.
Gray carried his outstanding rookie campaign into this season where he led the OUA and finished second in U SPORTS in scoring, averaging 24.4 points per game. Gray also led the OUA and U SPORTS in assists with 141 and finished seventh in the OUA averaging 8 rebounds per game. After helping the men’s basketball team to a seven win improvement over last year, Gray was named the OUA and U SPORTS Men’s Basketball Player of the Year; just the second Laurentian men’s basketball player to win the award and the first in 40 years.
McNamara was a key piece to the women’s soccer team this year, backstopping the team to a fourth place finish and a home playoff game. Named a first team all-star, McNamara finished second in the OUA with a .897 save percentage, third in the league with 87 saves, seven wins and eight shutouts and sixth in the OUA with a 0.74 goals against average.
Alexander burst on to the OUA rowing scene at the OUA Championships in Welland. After qualifying for the Men’s Single final in fourth place, Alexander turned in another strong race in the finals, edging the Ottawa boat by half of a second to grab the bronze medal. He capped off his strong year with a top-10 finish at the Canadian University Rowing Championships.
Dolighan stood between the pipes for the first time on December 1st in Windsor, earning her first OUA victory. After the exam break, she continued her hot start, adding another 5 wins to begin her career with a six game win streak. Dolighan finished the season with a 7-4 record, a 1.97 goals against average and a .920 save percentage.
The Special Voyageur Award is presented to someone outside of the immediate Voyageurs family who has made an outstanding contribution to Laurentian Voyageur Athletics. This year, long-time women’s soccer assistant coach, Cassidy Throssell was presented with the award for her unprecedented support and dedication to the women’s soccer program and Voyageur athletics. A member of the inaugural women’s soccer team in 2000, Throssell joined coach Gallo on the sidelines in 2005 and has been an integral part of the program ever since.
The Voyageur Award is a prestigious award presented to a graduating student-athlete who has made an outstanding contribution to their sport and to Voyageur Athletics throughout their university career. This year, there were a trio of recipients coming from every corner of the Voyageurs’ family.
Allison Pilon blossomed into one of the premier defenders in the OUA over her four year career, twice being named an all-star, including first-team recognition this season. An Academic All-Canadian in each of her four years, Pilon was the winner of the OUA Community Service Award in 2016 in recognition of her commitment to volunteering, both locally and internationally.
Ellery Veerman transitioned from walk-on to team captain through her four years in the blue and gold and has served as inspiration for all young athletes over the past year and a half. After tearing her ACL five games into the 2016-17 season, Veerman pushed through the pain and finished out the season before having reconstructive surgery last Spring. Typically a 12 month recovery, Veerman worked extremely hard in the gym and saw the ice for game action on Nov. 30th, just seven months post-surgery. A four year Academic All-Canadian, outside of the rink Veerman volunteers throughout the City of Greater Sudbury all year long.
Nelson Yengue came to Laurentian from Cameroon in 2011 and immediately made an impact on the court. After his third season, Yengue was a victim of identity theft and as a result lost his ability to study in Canada. After two long years, Yengue’s perseverance paid off and he was able to return to Laurentian to finish his degree and get back on the court. A testament to his hard work, Yengue was named an all-star in his fifth and final year of eligibility this season. Through all of his trials, Yengue never lost sight of the bigger picture, continuously volunteering with youth in Greater Sudbury and giving back to the community.
Team awards were also handed out on Thursday night in the Ben Avery Gym. Here are the recipients from the various teams.
MVP – Dale Valade
Pride & Tradition Award – Vincent Giroux
MVP – Gracen Lacko
Men’s Nordic Skiing
MVP – Matteo Reich
Pride & Tradition – Colton Labine
Women’s Nordic Skiing
MVP – Laura Williams
Pride & Tradition – Lydia Harris
Women’s Cross Country Running
MVP – Jenny Bottomley
Pride & Tradition – Heidi Tuszkiewicz
Men’s Cross Country Running
MVP – Paul Sagriff
Pride & Tradition – Caleb Beland
Women’s Indoor Track
MVP – Megan Crocker
Pride & Tradition – Nicole Rich
Men’s Indoor Track
MVP – Skyler Savage-Perreault
Pride & Tradition – Liam Pedersen
MVP – Caitlin McNamara
Pride & Tradition – Kristy Walton
MVP – Connor Vande Weghe
Pride & Tradition – Nico Correa
MVP – Sam Postma
Pride & Tradition – Jake Kelly
MVP – Matthew Schouten
Pride & Tradition – James Sutherland
MVP – Riley Konrad
Pride & Tradition – Allison Bennett
MVP – Kadre Gray
Pride & Tradition – JD West
MVP – Emily Tinnes
Pride & Tradition – Andrea Zulich
MVP – Hayley Chase
Pride & Tradition – Daphne Gill
MVP – Charles Alexander
Pride & Tradition – Adam Arthurs
MVP – Krysta Burns
Pride & Tradition – Laura Masters
MVP – Tanner Horgan
Pride & Tradition – Derek Leung
MVP – Brent Pedersen
Ma Culley Award – Tyler Shaw
MVP – Samantha Morell
Pride & Tradition – Nicole Vigilanti
With the awards banquet in the books, the 2017-18 Laurentian varsity season officially comes to a close. Stay tuned to www.luvoyageurs.com for complete off season news and updates.