CLIFF, MALTAIS NAMED LAURENTIAN ATHLETES OF THE YEAR

SUDBURY, Ont. - Laurentian University celebrated its year in athletics at their annual athletic banquet. Team awards were given out following a cocktail hour and dinner at the Holiday Inn in Sudbury, with major awards rounding out the evening. It was Scott Cliff, men's soccer and Brittany Maltais, women's swimming, taking home the major hardware as the President's Just Soccer Athletes of the Year. Caitlin Blackadder and Chris Hocking were presented with Special Voyageur Awards and graduating Lady Vees basketball forward Amanda McConnell took home the Voyageur Award for contributions to Laurentian throughout her career.

The evening kicked off with the men's basketball team presenting their team awards. Head coach Shawn Swords presented rookie of the year awards to Jamie Weldon (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.) and Andrew Lalonde (Sudbury, Ont.). Alex Whitman (North Vancouver, B.C.) was named most improved player as well as receiving a graduating player award. Finally, Matas Tirilis (Mississauga, Ont.) was named team most valuable player for his strong play throughout the season.

The Lady Vees cagers were next up to hand out their awards. Lyndie Meloche (Amherstburg, Ont.) was presented with the rookie of the year award from head coach Mike Clarke. Kauri Lafontaine (Whitby, Ont.) was named most improved player, adding to her outside shooting ability with better defence and passing. The most valuable player award went to point guard Katie Goggins (Hanmer, Ont.) for leading her team on the court. McConnell (Regina, Sask.) and Christianne Bauck (Glengarry, Ont.) were given graduating awards.

Women's cross-country and indoor track stepped up to the podium, with assistant coach Darren Jermyn doing the honours. Most improved player award went to Maggie Robbins (Port Perry, Ont.) for the second straight season. Rookie of the year was Emma Tallman (Mindemoya, Ont.) for her strong contributions as a first-year athlete. Most valuable player for cross-country running was outstanding rookie Gracie Tetzlaff (Trenton, Ont.) while veteran Madeleine Woods (Sudbury, Ont.) was the indoor track MVP. Taking home graduating athlete awards were Woods, Meghan Juuti (Elliott Lake, Ont.), Celeste Woods (Sudbury, Ont.) and trainer Hocking.

Upstart curling took to the stage next with head coach Jan Pula presenting to both the men's and women's team. Ryan Lafraniere (Sudbury, Ont.) was named outstanding team player for contributions both on and off the ice. Swimming transfer Gordon Minty (Markham, Ont.) was given a rising star award, while another Sudbury native, Sandy McEwan was named most valuable player. McEwan, Lafraniere and Ian Dickie (Bracebridge, Ont.) were recognized with graduating player awards.

Lady Vees curler Denise Brown (Barrie, Ont.) was named outstanding team player. Joelle Boulanger (Mattawa, Ont.) took home the trophy for rising star. Amanda Gates (Sudbury, Ont.) took matched her fellow Sudbury native as most valuable player.

The Laurentian men's golf team was next to honour their athletes with Kyle Paquette, assistant coach, doing the honours. Veterans Max Kallio (Lively, Ont.), most improved player, and Yves Fraser (Sudbury, Ont.), most sportsmanlike, took home honours, while second-year member and second team OUA all-star Matt Bortolotto (Sudbury, Ont.) was named MVP.

Men's lacrosse head coach George Sheppard stepped up to present awards to their team naming Adam Brown (Barrie, Ont.) most improved player, Mike Holder (Orillia, Ont.) rookie of the year, Jeff Easby (Toronto, Ont.) top defender, Joey Slattery (Timmins, Ont.) coaches award and Casey Swann (Peterborough, Ont.), Gavin Howe (Stouffville, Ont.) and Corey Hull (Elmvale, Ont.) were honoured with graduating awards.

The Nordic skiing and head coach Bob Hanson were the next to dish out their awards. For the Voyageurs, it was Dave Endleman (Sudbury, Ont.) claiming most improved honours, Konrad Wiltman (Dillon, Ont.) was named rookie of the year, while older brother Victor Wiltman (Dillon, Ont.) was the team's most valuable player. Victor Wiltman, Andrew Barson, Roddy Purzner (Blind River, Ont.) and Brendan Waddell (Sudbury, Ont.) were all presented graduating awards.

The Lady Vees Nordic skiing team honoured Janel Sauder (St. Marys, Ont.) as rookie of the year, while FISU representative Mary Thompson (Woodstock, Ont.) was named most valuable skier. Julie Porter (Caledon East, Ont.) and Aden Beresford (Orillia, Ont.) received awards for graduating.

Men's soccer was the next to award their student-athletes for the year. It was David Hysen (Sudbury, Ont.) taking home most improved player, while Davor Alisic (Charlottetown, P.E.I.) was named rookie of the year and goalie Cliff winning most valuable player, after being named OUA East MVP. Jean-Sebastien Hartell was given a graduating award as the team's trainer.

The Lady Vees soccer team rewarded Stephanie Mackay (London, Ont.) as the most improved player, while leading scorer Lisa Watson (Newmarket, Ont.) took home rookie of the year honours as presented by head coach Rob Gallo. Samantha Falcioni (Sudbury, Ont.) was added most valuable player to her resume to go along with an OUA East first team all-star. Watson was also an OUA all-star. Graduating awards went to defender Erica Duczeminski (Sudbury, Ont.) and trainer Andrea Tabaka.

Phil Parker, head coach of the swimming teams stood at the front of the room and presented Marc McCulloch (Oshawa, Ont.) with the most improved award, Kyle Moore (Brampton, Ont.) with rookie of the year and Mike Commito (Sudbury, Ont.) with most valuable player. Blair Smith (Cobourg, Ont.) and trainer Alex Perioris were given graduating awards.

Parker again presented the Lady Vees swimming awards, as Jenni Button (Trenton, Ont.) was named most improved, Maltais (Charlottetown, P.E.I.) rookie of the year and Jennifer Piper (Powassan, Ont.) as the most valuable player. Six swimmers received graduating awards: Alexandra Cronk (Kingston, Ont.), Laura Slee (Shedden, Ont.), Cassandra Kawiuk (Oakville, Ont.), Kelly Gillis and Amanda Long (Mount Brydges, Ont.).

The evening proceeded to honour the major award winners. Hocking, trainer, women's cross-country and track, and Blackadder, assistant coach women's basketball were given Special Voyageur Awards for outstanding contributions to Laurentian Athletics as non-athletes. McConnell was awarded a Voyageur Award, presented to a graduating athlete who has made outstanding contributions to their sport and Voyageur athletics.

Finally, athletic director Peter Hellstrom with the help of Laurentian's acting president Robert Bourgeois presented the President's Just Soccer Athletes of the year. Cliff of the men's soccer team received the award for his outstanding play in leading the Voyageurs into the second round of the playoffs. Cliff allowed just 11 goals in 14 games, including seven shutouts enroute to being named the OUA East MVP. Maltais of the women's swimming team added female athlete of the year to go along with her swim team rookie of the year. Maltais, a 50-metre breast stroke specialist, was Laurentian's highest finisher at OUA championships, winning a silver medal. She followed that up with a 12th place finish at the CIS championships a few weeks later. Maltais in just her first year has set the second fastest time in Laurentian history in the 50-metre breaststroke.

Source: Laurentian Athletics
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