Student-Athletes Honored at 52nd Annual SNHU Athletic Awards Ceremony


BEDFORD, N.H. – Senior Devin Gilligan (Amherst, N.H.) and graduate student Abla Chadli (Rabat, Morocco) took home male and female Athlete of the Year honors, respectively, to highlight nine major awards that were given out Monday night as the Southern New Hampshire University Department of Athletics & Recreation celebrated the 2016-17 season and recognized its seniors at the 52nd Annual Athletic Awards Ceremony, which was held at the Manchester Country Club.

The Athlete of the Year award, given to a student-athlete whose outstanding play brought about both regional and national recognition for that player and for Southern New Hampshire University, was handed out by Executive Vice President and University College Provost Patricia Lynott.

Gilligan, a forward on the 21-9 men's basketball team that advanced to its second straight Northeast-10 Championship title game and its 20th NCAA Tournament, put together an impressive list of recognitions, which included National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-America Team and Division II Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA) All-America Third Team honors, D2CCA East Region and NE10 Conference Player of the Year, and First Team spots on the NABC East All-District, D2CCA East All-Region and NE10 All-Conference Teams. Gilligan also became the second member of the program to play in the Reese's/NABC Division II College All-Star Game. Gilligan averaged 20.2 points per game this season, while shooting 57.7 percent (221-383) from the field, 45.3 percent (53-117) from beyond the arc and 80.3 percent (110-137) from the line. Gilligan, who started all 30 games, also averaged 6.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game.

Gilligan, who registered five double-doubles during the season, scored in double figures 29 times, missing the entire second half of the one game he did not reach 10 points in with an injury. Gilligan scored 20 or more points 16 times, including 30-plus on four occasions. Gilligan scored 19 or more points in 10 straight games from Dec. 7 to Jan. 18, producing three of his 30-point explosions, including a career-high 31 in an 83-77 win against Adelphi University on Jan. 14.

Gilligan ranked second in the conference in field goals made, fourth in 3-point shooting, fifth in field goal percentage, sixth in scoring, 10th in both offensive rebounding (2.1) and free throws made, and 11th in rebounding. Nationally, Gilligan is 29th in field goals made, 36th in field goal percentage and 50th in scoring. 

Chadli has helped guide women's tennis to a 15-7 overall record with a 15-6 singles mark and 12-8 record in doubles. Chadli was selected as the NE10 Player of the Year after going a perfect 11-0 in conference play at No. 1 singles, where she was tabbed an All-Conference First Teamer. Chadli also received a Third Team nod at No. 2 doubles, where she was 7-3.

Chadli, ranked the 50th singles player in Division II by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, knocked off three-time defending NE10 Player of the Year Grace Messina (11-1) of Merrimack College, 6-1, 6-3, on Sept. 28. Messina had been 44-0 all-time in conference singles play before running into Chadli, who also defeated Saint Anselm College's Jess Perkins (10-2) in a continuation of their suspended match on Sept. 18.

Doug Blais, Faculty Athletics Representative and a professor of sport management at SNHU, presented the Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards, which are given to a student-athlete, who has attained excellence in the classroom and on the playing field. The winner must be a starter or an important reserve and must have completed at least one academic year at Southern New Hampshire University.

Joe Collins, a graduate forward on the men's ice hockey team, was chosen as the male Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Collins, who is pursuing his MBA and currently owns a 3.83 GPA, earned NE10 Academic All-Conference honors following a season in which he was chosen as the NE10 Player of the Year for the second time. Collins scored 11 goals and handed out 21 assists for 32 points. He led the league in points, points per game (1.26), game-winning goals (3) and assists, while ranking fourth in total goals.

Alexa Poulin, a senior midfielder for women's soccer, was the female recipient of the Scholar-Athlete of the Year award. Poulin, an elementary education/general special education major, who sports a 3.99 GPA, earned her second NE10 Academic All-Conference selection in the fall. On the pitch, she battled injury to play in 14 matches this season, but recorded a crucial goal 1:58 into overtime to topple 10th-ranked Bridgeport, 2-1, on Sept. 19.

The Penmen Pride Award, given by Wil Zemp, Senior Vice President for Strategy and University Chief of Staff, is presented to a senior student-athlete, who represents what it means to be an SNHU student-athlete, displaying excellence in all phases of the student-athlete experience.

Cross country senior Nacho Hernando-Angulo (Ramsey, N.J.) earned the male Penmen Pride Award. A leader on and off the trails, Hernando-Angulo put forth another stellar year as he once again earned a berth to the NCAA National Championship, becoming the first runner in program history to twice pull the feat. Hernando-Angulo, who finished in the top five of all five races he competed in, set a new school mark for an 8,000-meter run (24:40) and posted the highest finishes in program history at both the NE10 Championship and NCAA East Regional Championship by placing second. The technical management major features a 3.40 ERA.

Senior Sara Ryan (Quincy, Mass.) was tabbed the female Penmen Pride Award winner. The women's basketball guard serves as the co-president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and is active in tutoring other students. Ryan is a marketing major with a 3.55 GPA. On the court, the captain averaged 10.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.0 block per game, while shooting 41.3 percent from the floor.

Dean of Students Heather Lorenz bestowed the Unsung Hero Award upon the recipients. The Unsung Hero Award goes to a senior student-athlete, who made major contributions to the success of the team, but was overlooked for major postseason awards.

Senior Zach Jacobs (Tewksbury, Mass.), the male Unsung Hero Award winner and a midfielder on the men's lacrosse team, has 16 goals and eight assists for 24 points to rank fourth on the team in scoring. He has been a crucial reason the squad is tied for its best start ever at 9-4.

The female Unsung Hero Award went to senior Jessica Torsiello (Morris Plains, N.J.), a catcher and outfielder on the softball team. Torsiello is 21-for-92 with a home run, 15 RBI, 14 runs and nine extra-base hits.

Johnny Gomes was selected as the winner of the fifth annual Jim Atherton Award, presented by former Coordinator of Athletic Communications Erin Baldwin. The award was created in memory of Jim Atherton '13, a student worker in the athletic department for two years, who passed away following a battle with Ewing's sarcoma in March 2013. The award is given annually to an outstanding student worker in the SNHU athletic department.

Anthony Fallacaro, Director of Athletics & Recreation, opened the night with his welcome, while Associate Director of Athletics Tom Wilkins served as the Master of Ceremonies. Dinner followed both the year-in-review highlight video, created by Coordinator of Athletic Communications Geoff Lopes, and the invocation, which was delivered by Fr. Bruce Collard, Director of Campus Ministry. 

After dinner, senior gifts were presented by the head coaches of each team, who were invited up on stage by Director of Athletic Communications Eric Coplin.

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