UNION, N.J. (6/4/15) – The Kean University athletic department honored its winter and spring athletic teams and also bestowed its annual special awards at the end of the spring semester.
Winter/Spring MVP’s Left to Right
Kyle Farley – Men’s Volleyball
Tommy Soulias – Men’s Basketball
Courtney Yard – Softball
Max Fields – Men’s Lacrosse
Ryan Kelley – Baseball
Jordan Blanda – Women’s Lacrosse (not pictured)
Dr. Josh Palgi, a member of the Physical Education, Recreation and Health department at Kean, was given the Big Blue Award, presented annually to a person who contributed greatly to the Department of Athletics. Dr. Palgi is one of the most beloved faculty members at Kean and a sought-after guest at the annual student-athlete luncheon.
Senior Ron Dunn of the men’s volleyball team earned the Hoffman Memorial Award. The honor is presented to the senior student-athlete whose enthusiasm for athletics and spirit on the playing field best exemplifies Kean Hall of Famer Andrew Hoffman, a former men’s lacrosse and football player. Dunn was the squad’s starting setter and led the team to its first-ever No. 1 ranking this season. During his four years on campus, he was easily the most vocal and visible supporter at many sporting events, leading the Kean student section and contributing greatly to school spirit.
Junior Marissa Robinson of the field hockey team and fellow junior Brock Podgurski of the baseball program were the Kean Scholar-Athlete Award winners.
Robinson was outstanding on the field and off this year. She led the field hockey team in nearly every defensive and offensive category, including defensive saves, points, goals, assists and game-winning goals. She was named First-Team All-NJAC, All-ECAC and All-Region.
She was a National Field Hockey Coaches Association Scholar of Distinction (GPA of 3.9 or better), is co-President of both the NJAC and Kean University Student-Athlete Advisory Committees and is a member of the national NCAA SAAC.
Podgurski was owned a 3.98 grade point average as a junior finance major this year. Both he and Robinson are members of the Chi Alpha Sigma student-athlete honor society and were honored at Kean’s scholar-athlete luncheon. Podgurski appeared in 11 games this season and had 13 hits, including two doubles, before being sidelined due to injury.
Kean then capped the night and honored a pair of All-Americans with the D’Angola Award, its highest honor. The D’Angola Award recognizes outstanding individual performance within the team concept that contributes to the enhancement of the team, the department of athletics and Kean University.
Senior Courtney Yard of the softball team earned the female D’Angola Award and senior Bez Arslani of the men’s volleyball program earned the male D’Angola Award.
Yard led the softball team to its best season ever. The Cougars advanced to the NCAA Championship site for just the second time in program history and finished in fifth place nationally, its best showing in history. Yard pitched every game of the postseason for Kean and won a total of eight playoff games this year. She will retire holding the program record for lowest career ERA and most strikeouts.
This year, she became was a Second-Team All-American and among the best pitchers in the nation after winning the NJAC Triple Crown by leading the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts.
Arslani is a two-time All-American, the Skyline Conference Player of the Year, the Most Outstanding Player of the Skyline Tournament, First-Team All-ECAC and a first-team all-conference selection. He repeated all those feats in both 2015 and 2014.
Arslani finished among the Top-100 players in the nation this season in kills, points, hitting percentage, aces and blocks. He was ninth nationally with 3.76 kills per set. His point total of 399 was seventh in the country and his attack percentage of .315 was 38th.
Both Yard and Arslani are both outstanding in the classroom as well. Yard was an Academic All-American selection and Arslani earned an Academic All-District nod this year.