After a tremendous athletic year, the College of Staten Island athletics program celebrated handsomely tonight with their Annual Awards Banquet held at The Hilton Garden Inn in Staten Island, New York.  The annual event recognized the top performers and other distinguished award winners spanning CSI’s intercollegiate programs, with Female and Male Athlete of the Year honors collected by soccer standouts Samantha LaValle and Philip Lefkowitz.

After greetings from Associate Director of Athletics David Pizzuto, Director of Athletics Charles Gomes and Deputy to the President/Chief of Staff Robert Wallace, awards were given for each sport in chronological order beginning with teams last fall, and ending with women’s softball, which finalized its season with a CUNYAC title and NCAA Tournament appearance this past weekend.

Sophomore transfer LaValle made a historic entry into the women’s soccer ranks at CSI this fall, putting a stamp on a CUNYAC All-Star season by leading the Dolphins to their fourth-straight conference title and national tournament appearance.  LaValle tallied 22 goals in 16 games, adding an assist for a team-high 45 points and 79 shots.  Often blanketed by two and three defenders at the top of the pitch, LaValle net six game-winners, among the NCAA Division III leaders and good for the second-highest single-season total in program history.   She ended the season on a four-game goal-scoring streak, including both games of the CUNYAC Tournament and another in the NCAA Tournament. 

What LaValle did on the women’s side, Lefkowitz showed similar domination on the men’s side.  The junior led the entire nation in assists per game, tallying 16, the most in 27 years at CSI, in just 18 games played.  He also added 12 goals on a team-best 91 shots, a mark that included three game-winners.  The CSI men’s soccer team tallied a program-record 15 wins in 2018 en route to a CUNYAC Championship appearance, and Lefkowitz finalized his year with CUNYAC Player of the Year honors.

Vice-President for Student Enrollment and Success Jennifer S. Borrero was on hand to present CSI Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors, given to basketball standout and Coaches Award winner Nicole Imbesi.  A two-time CUNYAC All-Sportsmanship player, Imbesi appeared in over 100 games over her career and as a member of the Teacher’s Honors Academy at CSI, she sports a 3.667 GPA, majoring in Mathematics.  Borrero also presented honors to head coach Brittany Casares and the entirety of the Women’s Soccer team for winning the College’s Team GPA, awarded to the unit with the highest cumulative GPA.  Women’s Soccer topped all programs with a collective 3.295 GPA.

Two-sport star Cassidy Iannariello, a senior on the Women’s Volleyball and Women’s Track & Field teams, was awarded the 14th Annual Bill Cali/John Scrivani Sportsmanship Award, named after CSI’s former baseball skippers who earned similar honors from the Staten Island Advance in 2005.  Sensational in both arenas, Iannariello spearheaded multiple community-service themed initiatives and special events as President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
As SAAC President, Iannariello helped give out awards of her own, presenting their 9th Annual G.L.O.V.E. Award to the CSI Men’s Basketball team for their model of Giving, Leading, Organizing, Volunteering, and Encouraging.  The team spent many hours in the community, teaming with organizations such as SIMBA Youth Clinics and the Mariner’s Harbor Community Center, while leading the way as supporters for other CSI teams.  Iannariello and the SAAC also helped honor Pizzuto for his efforts during the calendar year in working with the committee.  

Midway through the ceremony, CSI Assistant Athletic Director Alberto Sanchez helped to dole out the department’s Distinguished Service Award, presented to former Assistant Sports Information Director Tom Krychkowski.  Now the Director of Athletic Communications at Rutgers-Newark, Krychkowski helped drive the department’s social media and branding campaigns over four years ago as well as manage gameday supervision efforts in his former role at CSI.

One of CSI’s newest awards is CSI’s 3rd Annual Strength & Conditioning Award, given by Strength and Conditioning Coach Antonio Meza, to men’s soccer standout junior Ryan Layman.  The award honors a single individual dedicated to the program and off-season commitment to the cause, as well as leadership for other student-athletes within the program.  Along the same lines, the Sports Medicine Award, given out by Head Athletic Trainer Alyson Ocasio, rewards a student who has triumphed in the face of injury or medical adversity, given this year to softball junior Julianna Cretella.

Before Male and Female Athlete of the Year honors  the group received a special presentation by Natalia Sandor, a junior on the women’s soccer team, who doled out an award to the Women’s Socvcer team for winning CSI Sustainability’s Bottle Drive initiative through CSI Athletics that help to recycle tens of thousands of bottles throughout the academic year. 

At the conclusion of the ceremony CSI honored its four-year seniors, 16 in total, with commemorative throw blankets, issued to them by Wallace and Gomes.

All told, the rousing event was a great success, according to the Director of Athletics.

“Our awards ceremony is a great chance for us to highlight the achievements of our student-athletes, and it’s always one of the most enjoyable nights of the year,” said Gomes.  “I take a great deal of pride in celebrating our achievements alongside our athletes and coaches each year and tonight is no exception.”

An end-of-year highlight video, prepared by CSI Events Manager Anthony Avena was the highlight of the evening.  The video is posted below.  The CSI academic year will come to a close in the coming weeks, when Commencement will take place on May 30.
A full list of award winners is below:

MVP: Jett Nouvertne
Rookie:  Nick Falcone
Pitcher: John Esposito
Coaches: Vincent Brennan
MVP: Chelsea Ortiz
Rookie:  Aurora Haxhari
Coaches: Paige Montijo
Men’s Basketball
MVP: Christian Taylor
Rookie: Chamald Martin
Coaches:  Stephen Flagg
Men’s Cross-Country
MVP: Luke Jackson
Rookie:  Spencer Milito
Coaches: Jaron Thompson
Men’s Indoor Track & Field
MVP: Liam McMunn
Rookie: Jordan Thompson
Coaches: Wilson Esguerra

Men’s Outdoor Track & Field
MVP: Liam McMunn
Rookie: Jared Nusser
Coaches: Olaitan Okeowo

Men’s Soccer
MVP: Philip Lefkowitz
Rookie: Christian Carucci
Coaches: Joe Bolella
Men’s Swimming & Diving
MVP: Peter Carle
Rookie: Michael Stora
Coaches:  Sami Jindyeh
Diver: Xavier Nicholson

Men’s Tennis
MVP:  Raymond Hwang
Rookie:  Ivi Selenica
Coaches: Alex Tsui
MVP: Patricia Riches
Pitcher:  Alison Meagher
Rookie: Jaclyn Kateridge
Coaches:  Antoinette Galbo
Women’s Basketball
MVP:  Megan McEwan
Rookie:  Kayla Schmitter
Coaches:  Nicole Imbesi
Women’s Cross-Country
MVP: Tristiana Adragna
Rookie: Brittani Broderick
Coaches:  Rachel Edmonds
Women’s Indoor Track & Field
MVP: Kharyn Ethridge
Rookie: Deavion Brown
Coaches: Stephanie Da Silva

Women’s Outdoor Track & Field
MVP: Kharyn Ethridge
Rookie: Deavion Brown
Coaches: Cassidy Iannariello

Women’s Soccer
MVP: Samantha LaValle
Rookie:  Mirsade Pelinkovic
Coaches:  Brianna DiStefano
Women’s Swimming & Diving
MVP: Lisnette Solano
Rookie:  Rachel Beyer
Coaches:  Cecelia Mauro
Diver:  Alyssa Dunn
Women’s Tennis
MVP: Mariah Deguia
Rookie: Lorianna Fernandez
Coaches: Guetanie Romain
Women’s Volleyball
MVP: Francesca Castellano
Rookie: Arianna Spears
Coaches: Margaret O’Malley-Rebovich
Distinguished Service Award
Tom Krychkowski, Assistant Sports Information Director (former)
SAAC G.L.O.V.E. Award
Men’s Basketball
Team G.P.A. Award
Women’s Soccer, 3.295 GPA
Bill Cali/John Scrivani Sportsmanship Award
Cassidy Iannariello, Women’s Volleyball & Women’s Track & Field
Strength & Conditioning Award
Ryan Layman, Men’s Soccer

Sports Medicine Award
Julianna Cretella, Softball
Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Nicole Imbesi, Women’s Basketball
Male Athlete of the Year
Philip Lefkowitz, Men’s Soccer
Female Athlete of the Year
Samantha LaValle, Women’s Soccer