Twenty-one Suffolk University student-athletes and coaches from three spring sports earned recognition from the Great Northeast Athletic Conference. Two of Suffolk's three spring programs claimed their league titles after winning their conference tournaments over the weekend as well. Suffolk Baseball (27-8) took home the GNAC Title by defeating St. Joseph's College (Me.) 16-5 in the series finale on Sunday to give the Rams their fourth NCAA Regional berth in program history. Suffolk Men's Tennis (9-3) defeated Emerson College, 5-3 in the league final on Saturday evening.
Senior Jess Ferreira (Cambridge, MA) of Suffolk Softball headlines the list, as the senior shortstop was named Great Northeast Athletic Conference Player of the Year for Women's Softball. This marks the third consecutive season in which Suffolk's shortstop has been honored as the league's best player as voted by the GNAC's coaches. Ferreria entered the final weekend of the season with a .487 batting average, 10 home runs and 49 RBI on the season through 39 games. As of April 19th, Ferreira ranks 7th in the nation with a .943 slugging percentage, and is also 7th in the country among Division III players with 1.31 RBI per game. She also ranked 36th in batting average.
With her illustrious career coming to a close shortly, Ferreira currently ranks 21st all-time in NCAA Division III history in batting average (.472), 7th in slugging percentage (.903), 8th in RBI (194), 14th in home runs (37), 17th in triples (26).
Prior to the season, Ferreira was named a Preseason All-American by D-III Softball the Newsletter. She was also named Regional Player of the Week on April 5th after collecting her 200th career hit against Norwich University that weekend. This season Ferreira was twice named GNAC Player of the Week. She was also honored by Suffolk University with the Charles Law Student-Athlete Award that recognizes a student-athlete for excellence in athletics and academics. Ferreira currently maintains a 3.28 GPA as a Criminology & Law major. For the past two year she has also served as President of Suffolk's Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC).
Ferreira, along with senior Marie Trainor (Winthrop, MA) earned first team All-Conference honors. Trainor moved to the outfield for the Rams this season, hit .397 with five home runs and 26 RBI. In her three seasons with Suffolk, Trainor has hit .359 with eight career home runs, 59 RBI, 21 doubles and 38 stolen bases. This season Trainor had 14-multi hit games for the Rams.
Sophomore Monica Cioffi (East Boston, MA) was named a second team All-Conference selection at second base. Cioffi has been the catalyst for the Rams offense as a leadoff hitter leading the team with 37 runs scored and a conference-best 33 stolen bases. Entering the final week of play, her 0.91 stolen base per game average ranked her 6th in the nation among Division III players.
Senior Rebecca Barnett (Hull, MA) was named to the GNAC Sportsmanship team. Barnett has served primarily as the Rams designated hitter. One the season she hit .286 with a .377 slugging percentage, driving in 19 runs and hitting seven doubles.
Softball fell short in their hopes of a GNAC title, losing in the tournament to Simmons College, 4-1 on Sunday. The Rams finished the season with a 22-18 record which was third best in the conference.
Men's Tennis finished the season 9-3 and in second place, but defeated top-seeded Emerson College to take the conference title. First-year head coach Isaac Stahl was named the GNAC's Coach of the Year. Picked as the preseason favorite in the league, Stahl guided the Rams to a 3-1 record within the conference. Suffolk avenged their only loss of the season by taking down Emerson 5-3 in the finals for their first conference title.
The Rams also had the league's best rookie. Freshman Christopher Staley (London, England) was named GNAC Rookie of the Year. Staley was 7-3 overall in singles play, but was a perfect 4-0 within GNAC matches. He also teamed up with sophomore John Samander in doubles play for a 5-1 mark. Staley who played primarily in the two position for the Rams, won six games on the season in that spot. Staley was also named first team All-Conference.
JuniorDiego Alvarado (Boston, MA) was also named a first team All-Conference player. Alvarado was Suffolk's best player on the season, picking up seven wins on the season in the one position for the Rams. Alvardo was also named as a second-team All-Conference player in doubles matches along with his partner, senior Garrett Freeman (Beacon, NY). Together, the duo was 5-3 in the one doubles position for the Rams, going 2-1 within league. Aside from his outstanding play on the court, Diego was also named to the GNAC Sportsmanship team.
Junior Jared Orkin (Newton, MA) was named as a second team All-Conference player. Orkin finished the season 6-2, while going a perfect 4-0 in league play. In the three position for Suffolk, Orkin was 5-1.
Baseball capped off a dramatic weekend by knocking off St. Joseph's College 15-6 in the final game of the GNAC Tournament on Sunday. The Rams nine now boast 27-8 record, while earning their fourth NCAA Regional appearance since 2000. With head coach Cary McConnell earning his 400th career victory earlier this season, Suffolk took home 12 different awards from their play throughout the weekend in 2009. Suffolk had five played named to the GNAC first All-Conference team, and another five for the second team, while four players were also named the GNAC Tournament team.
Sophomore Mark Addesa (Revere, MA) took home a pair of awards. After being named a first-team GNAC All-Conference selection, Addesa was also named GNAC Tournament Most Valuable Player. Addesa hit .350 in the Rams' four game weekend, including driving in the go-ahead run in Friday's 4-2 victory over Albertus Magnus in the opening game of the tournament. Addesa finished the tournament 7-for-20 with nine runs scored, six RBI and was outstanding defensively with nine putouts and 20 assists. On the season, Addesa has been involved with 24 double plays in the middle and has also been a force with the bat hitting .331 with 4 home runs and 34 RBI.
Senior Tim Doyle (Milton, MA) headlined the GNAC first team. On the mound this season, Doyle is a perfect 6-0 with a 1.65 ERA. Doyle got the Rams going in the playoffs, starting the opener and defeating Albertus Magnus 4-2 in the opener. Junior Rory Gentile (Gloucester, MA) was also named a first-team All-Conference player. This season Gentile has torn apart opposing pitching with a .388 average while slugging .659 and maintaining an on-base percentage of .529. Gentile was also named to the GNAC Tournament team after hitting .444 with two home runs, eight runs scored and 11 RBI. Junior Bobby Barrett (Milton, MA) was also a first-team selection. The junior catcher leads the GNAC in RBI with 57 while hitting .374. Barrett has also done a good job handling the Suffolk staff, whose 3.81 team ERA was best in the league. Barrett also earned GNAC Tournament honors after hitting a grand slam in Saturday's 22-21 win and posting a .414 average on the weekend. Sophomore Paul Vittozzi (North Reading, MA) was also a first team season as he has a .341 average on the season with 21 steals and 30 RBI. Vittozzi has been solid with the glove as well as he has been involved with 25 double plays turned on the season.
The Rams had a pair of pitchers on the GNAC second-team. Senior Dan Delia (Boston, MA) and Reid Jackson (Burlington, MA) have both carried the load on the mound for the Rams in 2009. Delia is currently 6-1 with a 2.58 ERA. Delia has also been an important piece to the Rams bullpen as he has come out in relief in between starts to help save three games. Jackson is 5-3 with a 4.25 ERA this season. The southpaw has been one of the Rams most reliable starters picking up wins against nationally ranked Wheaton College and also knocking off Babson College earlier this season. Jackson leads the team in strikeouts with 52.
Senior Keith Carter (Newburyport, MA) was named a second team All-Conference selection. The right fielder leads the Rams with a .392 batting average with 13 doubles and 28 RBI. This season Carter has reached base safely in 31 of 34 games. Senior Mike Kenneally (Georgetown, MA) was also named a second team selection. Kenneally has come on strong late in the season with a .339 average. Kenneally has hit safely in 15 of Suffolk's last 16 games hitting .439 over that stretch. Sophomore Jon Handy (South Burlington, VT) was also picked as a second team All-Conference selection. Handy is hitting .347 for Suffolk as their designated hitter and is also 1-0 on the mound with two saves in eight appearances.
Sophomore Alex Torres (Framingham, MA) was named the GNAC Tournament team. Torres picked the win up in the league clinching game. Torres threw a complete game, allowing four earned runs on six hits while striking out a pair.
Senior Anthony Iacopucci (Medford, MA) was named to the GNAC's Sportsmanship team. Voted a captain by his teammates for the 2009 season, Iacopucci has been versatile for the Rams playing multiple positions and has settled in strong defensively at first base. This season Iacopucci is hitting .273 with one home run and 17 RBI. Iacopucci has a big weekend to help Suffolk win their title. He had a monster game on Saturday going 3 for 5 with four RBI. Iacopucci homered in his second at-bat of Suffolk's 11-run second inning on Saturday, after hitting a line drive off the top of the wall in his first-at bat.
The Suffolk University Athletic Department also held their annual Awards Night Dinner on Wednesday April 25. All thirteen varsity teams handed out awards. For a complete list of award winners and photos, click here.