Here are the MAAC's top individual award winners (you can check the maac site at http://www.maacsports.com/ for full details):
WOMEN'S AWARD WINNERS
6th Player of the Year: Ali Heller, Rider
Defensive Player of the Year: Katie Sheahin, Loyola.
Coach of the Year: Brian Giorgis.
Player of the Year: Erica Allenspach, Marist.
MEN'S AWARD WINNERS
6th Player of the Year: J'Hared Hall, Loyola.
Defensive Player of the Year: Anthony Nelson, Niagara.
Coach of the Year: Ed Cooley, Fairfield.
Player of the Year: Ryan Rossiter, Siena.
Some comments ...
- Hard not to give the coaching awards to the teams that finished in first place. Marist coach Brian Giorgis' team produced just the second 18-0 conference record in MAAC history for either men or women. Any time a team goes through an entire season uscathed ... well, the coach did something right.
Although Cooley's team was picked to finish first by most preseason prognosticators, the feeling was the Stags wouldn't be the dominant team that Siena was in recent years and could be overtaken for the top spot. Instead Fairfield had a three-game lead in the conference standings until it lost its final regular-season game to runner-up Iona.
- It was a nice reward for Defensive Player of the Year honorees Anthony Nelson of Niagara and Katie Sheahin of Loyola.
Your blogger perceived both to be worthy first-team all-MAAC candidates, yet both were relagated to second-team status. Nelson did lead the country in steals, while Sheahin was sixth nationally for women, so both were easy picks for the defensive award.
But, both made contributions far beyond the defensive end. Sheahin was arguably the MAAC's best women's point guard, while Nelson stepped up his game from role player in the past to leader not only on the court but off it for a young team that meshed late in the season to win five of its last seven games.
- Siena's Ryan Rossiter became the player from the lowest-finishing team in MAAC history (the Saints finished seventh in the final standings) to win the Player of the Year Award, and why not? He was just the first player since Lionel Simmons 21 years ago to lead the MAAC in scoring and rebounding.
Yet, his female counterpart at Siena, Serena Moore, also led all women in scoring and rebounding and the award went, instead, to Marist guard Erica Allenspach.
Allenspach had a marvelous season and had a key role in Marist's 18-0 league season and 27-2 overall mark.
Your blogger, though, just perceived Moore to have had a better season and the statistics would appear to back that up. But, your blogger understands it was probably a close call and can't lodge too strenuous an objection to Allenspach's award.