MSU Names Annual Award Winners

Montclair, NJ (5/20/10) - Montclair State University senior Dominique Dixon (Elizabeth, NJ / Morris Hills) and junior Kisandra Ayanbeku (Brockton, MA / Randolph) were named Male and Female Outstanding Athletes of the Year, respectively as the Red Hawk Athletic Department handed out their awards for the 2009-2010 academic year. The seniors were two of 15 student-athletes honors at the annual All-Sports Banquet on May 11.

Dixon was chosen as the recipient of the Sam Mills Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year honors following his 2009 campaign in which he started all 12 games at defensive back leading the Red Hawks’ run to the NJAC Championship and second round appearance in the NCAA Division III Playoffs. Montclair went 10-2, tying the school record for wins. Dixon collected 40 total tackles, a fumble recovery and four interceptions, one which returned for a touchdown helped seal MSU’s win over then No. 19 Cortland, 16-7 as he earned D3Football.com “Team of the Week” honors for his effort. He was selected First-Team All-NJAC, First-Team All-East by D3Football.com as well as to the latter’s All-America Team. Dixon joined Mills and former lineman Anthony Vitale as the only players in school history to be named to the Little All-America Team which is selected by the Associated Press and became the first MSU player in 13 years to earn All-America honors from the American Football Coaches Association. A four-year member of the MSU program, with his 22 passes defended this year, he is the all-time leader in that category with 40 and his was a member of the Dean’s List during the 2009 Fall semester.

Ayanbeku played a key role in helping the MSU Women’s Basketball team to a 16-10 mark this past season, including a 9-4 record in conference play and berth in the NJAC Tournament semifinals. A First-Team All-NJAC pick for the second straight year, she was one of the top all-around players in the NJAC this past season as she averaged a double-double over the course of 25 games. An NJAC Player of the Week selection she averaged 16.1 points per game - the best season average by an MSU player since 2001 and the third highest in the last 20 years in addition to pulling down 10.5 rebounds per contest. She ranked in the Top 6 in the NJAC in four categories as she was third in scoring and rebounding, fifth in the field goal percentage (.515) and sixth in free-throw shooting (.783) while also adding 41 steals.  She scored in double figures in all but one contest this season and posted 15 or more points in 17 contests while topping 20-plus four times, including 27 against Ramapo College on February 6. She had 12 double-double outings and grabbed a career-high 18 boards versus No. 2 Kean in the NJAC Tournament semifinals.

Soccer standout Joseph Cullen (Clementon, NJ / Highland) and Morgan MacPhee (Toms River, NJ / Toms River East) of the women's lacrosse team were named the Senior Athletes of the Year. Deana Hagel (Fairfield, NJ / West Essex) and Mike Krol (Howell, NJ / Howell) were chosen Junior Athletes of the Year while Cora Delfini (New Egypt, NJ / New Egypt) and Tyler Meth (Basking Ridge, NJ / Ridge) were picked as Sophomore Athletes of the Year. Megan Bosland (Boonton, NJ / Boonton) and Peter Nagy (East Hanover, NJ / Hanover Park) were the recipients of the Gerald "Bennie" Benson Freshman Athlete of the Year honors.

Cullen capped off one of the most successful careers in any sport in MSU history this past leading Montclair State to its fourth straight NJAC men’s soccer championship, a feat not accomplished in nearly a quarter century. The team captain, he was a First-Team All-NJAC selection and the league’s Midfielder of the Year; a First-Team Regional Selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association and became the 24th All-America in program history as she was named Second Team. Cullen finished 15th in the NJAC in points this season and 10th in assists as he collected 15 points on five goals and five assists. He had three game-winning goals this season, perhaps none bigger than his double-overtime goal against Rutgers-Newark in a 2-1 win on September 23 which helped Montclair State tied the NCAA all-time record for consecutive home wins at 40. The Red Hawks would eventually go on to set a new mark running its streak to 44 straight wins at home before the streak was broken in the NCAA Division III Tournament. For his career he finished third all-time in assists with 28 and also scored 16 goals, including nine game-winning tallies. He appeared in 87 career contests, more than any player who has every donned a Montclair State uniform. Since becoming a member of the Montclair State program, the Red Hawks went a remarkable 77-7-4, including a conference mark of 32-3-1. and Montclair’s record at home during that time was 45-1-1.

MacPhee also put the finishing touches on one of the finer careers in Montclair State women’s lacrosse history. She has helped Montclair State return to the top of the Skyline Conference as the Red Hawks captured their fourth title in five years while earning the program’s third trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament. A three-time Skyline Conference First-Team selection as well as a two-time All-NJAC pick, she appeared in 17 games and led the team in goals with 51 and was second in points with 58.  In her career which spanned 69 contests, she scored 132 goals and helped on 36 others for a total of 168 points. During that time she also posted 118 ground balls, 110 draws and 52 caused turnovers. All of these totals ranking among the Top 10 all-time at Montclair State.

Krol served as a team captain and started all 21 contests for one of Division III top soccer programs helping Montclair State to a 17-2-2 overall mark as well as a 7-1-1 record in New Jersey Athletic Conference. One of the top defenders in the league this season, he anchored one of nations’ top defensive units which allowed just 15 goals throughout the season while also posting 10 shutouts. In addition he also collected two assists from his backfield position with both ironically coming against Rowan. His first lifted MSU to a 2-1 win in September and the second even more important as his pass to teammate Will Griffin accounted for the only goal in Montclair’s 1-0 win against the Profs that gave MSU its fourth straight conference championship. Krol earned First-Team All-Conference honors from the NJAC and ECAC and was selected Second-Team All-Region by the National Soccer Coaches Association.

Hagel put together one of the top offensive seasons by a Red Hawk field hockey player in the past decade. Appearing in all 21 games for Montclair State this season, she was one of the top scorers in the NJAC last Fall scoring 17 goals and adding five assists for 39 points. Hagel ranked second in the conference in points scored and third in goals scored, those 17 ranking as the fourth-highest single-season total in MSU history. In MSU's six-game game end-of-the-season winning streak she scored seven goals, four of those game-winners, as she helped Montclair State to its final 15-6 record and the ECAC Championship. At season’s end she was named First-Team All-NJAC and was selected Second-Team All-Region by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association.

Delfini was an integral part in leading the women's lacrosse team back to the top of the Skyline Conference in 2010, emerging as one of the best players in the league. Named the conference’s Player of the Year, in 18 games this season, she scored 49 goals and registered 66 points, the latter number the 10th best single-season mark in program history. Named the Skyline Conference Player of the Week three times during the season, Delfini scored two or more goals in a game 14 times and five times she topped four-plus scores, including a career-high eight in a 21-14 win over Farmingdale in March. She ranked in the Top 10 in the Skyline Conference in goals, assists and points and she has also registered 35 ground balls, 34 draws and forced 22 turnovers. Delfini also earned Most Valuable Player honors in the Skyline Tournament as she scored six goals in the Red Hawks’ 17-6 win over Ramapo in the championship contest, a win that also sent MSU to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the third time in the last four years. She was also named to the All-New Jersey Athletic Conference First Team.

Meth followed up his outstanding freshman season in which he helped the Montclair State men’s lacrosse team to the Skyline Conference Championship and its first NCAA Tournament berth, by putting together and even better season in 2010. In 19 games this season, he scored 42 goals which led the team and he was third overall in points with 50. Meth has registered a goal in all but one game this season and 12 times he has scored two or more. He ranked third in the Skyline in goals and he led the conference in game-winning goals with six. Meth was named to the Skyline All-Conference First Team for the second consecutive season and has been an important part of the greatest season in the history of the Montclair State men’s lacrosse program helping the team to a 15-4 record (the 15 wins tying the school record), its second straight Skyline Conference championship as well as another trip to the NCAA Tournament. In addition for the first time in program history, the Red Hawks took to the field as a nationally-ranked lacrosse team and hosted a first-round home game in the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time in school history.

Nagy, a running back by trade, quickly became an impact player on the all-important special teams where he covered kickoffs and punts as well as serving on all return teams as well. He appeared in 11 of 12 games during the 2009 campaign. In those 11 contests he registered 14 tackles on special teams, including and amazing performance in his second career game versus Morrisville State. In that contest he totaled six tackles – four unassisted on special teams and also forced a fumble that lead to a touchdown. Later in that contest, after running up and down the field on kickoffs, he carried the ball 11 times for 64 yards to finish off what would be the first of 10 straight victories for Montclair which eventually turned into the NJAC Championship and second-round appearance in the NCAA Division III Playoffs. Playing behind one of the all-time great running backs in Montclair State history, he averaged nearly five yards per carry in his limited time as a running back and was presented with the football team’s Fred Hill Hustle Award, which is presented annually to the player who demonstrates 100 percent effort and intensity in all practices and games throughout the season.

Bosland helped the Red Hawk field hockey team to another outstanding season as MSU went 15-6 wrapping up the year by capturing the ECAC Mid-Atlantic Championship for the third time in four years. Playing the pressure-packed goalkeeper position she became a leader of one of the NJAC’s toughest units to score upon. Taking over the starting role the second game into the season, Bosland turned into not only one of the conference’s best goalkeepers but one of the best in all of Division III. Appearing in 20 games she started 19 of them making 51 saves and recording three shutouts while registering a goals against average of 0.89 which not only led the NJAC but was the fourth-best in Division III in 2009. That astounding number is the second-best single-season goals against average in program history and it helped her earn the distinction of being named the New Jersey Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year. In the final six games of the year – all MSU wins – she allowed just two goals and posted four shutouts, including three straight in the ECAC Tournament.

Also honored were football senior Marco Capozzoli (Bloomfield, NJ / St. Joseph's (Montvale)) and field hockey senior Rebecca Dobiesz (Old Bridge, NJ / Old Bridge), who were named the Scholar-Athlete Award winners while women's soccer junior Christina Camaano (Linden, NJ / Linden) was the recipient of the Highest GPA Award. Taylor Bonner (Old Bridge, NJ / Old Bridge), a member of the Red Hawks football and men's lacrosse teams, was presented with the James J. Poet Sportsmanship Award along with women's soccer standout Leah Tepperman (North Andover, MA / North Andover). The Red Hawk volleyball team, which captured the NJAC regular-season championship in 2009, was named the TALON Award winner for their outstanding leaderships and contributions to the community.

The department also handed out its Team Academic Achievement Awards to the male and female teams with the highest team cumulative grade-point averages. The men's swimming and diving team along with the women's soccer team earned those honors.