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Syracuse athletics: Men’s soccer and women’s lacrosse headline 2023 ‘Cuse Awards

The most notable takeaways from this year’s honorees.

NCAA Soccer: College Cup Championship Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange men’s soccer team and women’s lacrosse teams stole the show at the 17th Annual ‘Cuse Awards, which recognizes the best student-athletes, teams, and plays from the 2022-2023 academic year.

The men’s soccer team secured four of the major awards on Tuesday - including Men’s Team Coach of the Year (Ian McIntyre) and Game of the Year (NCAA Championship versus the Indiana Hoosiers) - while Nathan Opoku received the Male Athlete of the Year and Male Performance of the Year awards.

Interestingly, the game-winning penalty kick which gave the Orange their first title in program history was not listed on the ballot for the “Play of the Year” category.

As for the women’s lacrosse team, Kayla Treanor won the title of Women’s Team Coach of the Year while the program earned Women’s Team of the Year recognition following its 16-2 (8-1) finish in this year’s regular season. Meaghan Tyrrell also won the Female Athlete of the Year category for the third time.

Other individual award winners included: Ellie-Kate Hutchinson (rowing, Female Rookie of the Year), Joey Spallina (lacrosse, Male Rookie of the Year), and Amanda Vestri (track and field, Female Performance of the Year).

On the Orange football front, quarterback Garrett Schrader’s game-winning touchdown pass to Oronde Gadsden against Purdue, a crucial moment during the first 6-0 start since 1987, earned “Play of the Year” honors.

It was a quiet night for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams. Head coach Felisha Legette-Jack could have been selected the Women’s Team Coach of the Year nod after leading the Orange to a bounce-back 2022-2023 season, while Dyaisha Fair’s 36-point performance versus Virginia (the most by any player in the ACC this season) was certainly a strong contender.

Judah Mintz’s monster slam dunk versus Illinois and Jesse Edwards’ statistical dominance against Wake Forest (27 points, 20 rebounds, two blocks and five steals on 11/15 shooting from the field and the program’s first 20 points-20 rebounds game since 1990) were under consideration, but neither deemed to be the best in their category.

Syracuse also continued the Soladay Award tradition, which honors those athletes who exhibit athletic and academic success, service and leadership. This year’s winners were Meaghan Tyrrell and rower Arnaud Buard.

The other thing Syracuse Athletics can (rightfully) hang its hat on is the academic success of this year’s student-athletes. 65% of all athletes had above a 3.0 GPA, including 36% with a GPA of 3.5 or above.

Here is the complete ballot from Tuesday night’s award ceremony (note: award winners are in bold). What stands out from this year’s ballot, and what are your thoughts on Tuesday night’s winners? Leave your thoughts down below.

2023 ‘Cuse Awards Nominees

Female Rookie of the Year

  • Jannemijn Deutman (field hockey)
  • Rhea Hicks (ice hockey)
  • Ellie-Kate Hutchinson (rowing)
  • Madelyn Lopez (Softball)
  • Shea Vanderbosch (soccer)
  • Coco Vandiver (lacrosse)

Male Rookie of the Year

  • LeQuint Allen (football)
  • Assaf Harari (cross country)
  • Judah Mintz (basketball)
  • Joey Spallina (lacrosse)

Game of the Year

  • Women’s basketball vs. #14 North Carolina
  • Field hockey vs. #8 Princeton (NCAA Tournament First Round)
  • Football vs. Purdue
  • Men’s lacrosse vs. #12 North Carolina
  • Women’s lacrosse vs. #4 Northwestern
  • Men’s rowing Goes Trophy Race
  • Women’s rowing Varsity 8 vs. #8 Penn
  • Men’s soccer vs. Indiana (NCAA National Championship)
  • Women’s soccer at Virginia
  • Tennis vs. #23 Miami

Play of the Year

  • Men’s basketball (Judah Mintz’s dunk vs. Illinois in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge)
  • Field hockey (Eefke van den Nieuwenhof’s goal vs. #2 Maryland)
  • Football (Garett Shrader’s game-winning touchdown pass to Oronde Gadsden II vs. Purdue)
  • Ice hockey (Tatum White’s game-winning goal vs. Lindenwood)
  • Men’s lacrosse (Sam Olexo’s takeaway check and goal vs. Notre Dame)
  • Women’s lacrosse (Meaghan Tyrell’s backhand pass to Emma Tyrell, who scored on a shovel pass vs. #6 Stony Brook)
  • Men’s soccer (Levonte Johnson’s game-winning goal vs. North Carolina in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals)
  • Women’s soccer (Koby Commandant’s goal vs. #2 Virginia)
  • Softball (A SportsCenter Top 10 play, Trinity Nichols’ diving stop at second base to end the sixth inning vs. Notre Dame)

Female Performance of the Year

  • Arielle Desmet (ice hockey, recorded a season-high 50 saves in an overtime tie at Mercyhurst)
  • Chelsea Domond (women’s soccer, had a goal and two assists in a 3-1 victory against Miami)
  • Zeynep Erman (tennis, defeated the No. 8 Singles player in the nation)
  • Dyaisha Fair (basketball, scored a season-high 36 points (the most by any ACC player in the regular season) in a 90-72 win against Virginia)
  • Madison Knight (softball, threw the 11th no-hitter in Syracuse softball history, and the first since 2018, in a 8-0 run-rule victory against NC State)
  • Lysianne Proulx (soccer, 15 saves vs. #4 Duke)
  • Savannah Roark (cross country, became the third All-American in women’s program history and posted the second-best finish (23rd) by an Orange woman at the NCAA Championships)
  • Meaghan Tyrell (lacrosse, recorded a career-high 11 points to lead the Orange past No. 2 Maryland, 20-11)
  • Amanda Vestri (track and field, became the first Syracuse women’s indoor first-team All-American since 2018 when she finished sixth in the 5K at the NCAA Championships)

Male Performance of the Year

  • Jesse Edwards (men’s basketball, recorded 27 points, 20 rebounds, two blocks and five steals in 40 minutes; shot 11-15 from the field and 5-9 from the foul line; program’s first regulation 20 points-20 rebounds game since 1990)
  • Oronde Gadsden (football, recorded eight catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns in the Orange’s top-15 win against NC State)
  • Jaheem Hayles (track and field, finished fourth in the 60-meter hurdles at the NCAA Championships with a time of 7.61, making him the second-fastest man in program history in the event)
  • Will Mark (lacrosse, staring down 66 shots from #5 Duke, he turned aside 22 would-be goals against one of the top offenses in the country. He finished the game with a 61.1 save percentage in an instant classic overtime thriller)
  • Paul O’Donnell (track and field, won the ACC Championship in remarkable fashion, racing from the unseeded section of the 5,000-meter run and blazing a facility record time)
  • Nathan Opoku (soccer, tallied a goal and an assist against Indiana in the NCAA National Championship match)

Female Athlete of the Year

  • Lauren Bellefontaine (ice hockey)
  • Quirine Comans (field hockey)
  • Dyaisha Fair (basketball)
  • Polina Kozyreva (tennis)
  • Kamile Kralikaite (rowing)
  • Savannah Roark (cross country)
  • Polina Shemanova (volleyball)
  • Meaghan Tyrell (lacrosse)
  • Shea Vanderbosch (tennis)
  • Amanda Vestri (track and field)

Male Athlete of the Year

  • Jesse Edwards (basketball)
  • Jaheem Hayles (track and field)
  • Will Mark (lacrosse)
  • Nathan Opoku (soccer)
  • Garrett Shrader (football)