NORTH ANDOVER, MA – Joe Cannata (Wakefield, MA) and April Daugherty (Lincoln, RI) won the annual Merrimack Male and Female Athletes of the Year award Wednesday night, while Robbie Sabadoz (Ottawa, ON) and Jessica Peacock (Hopedale, MA) were named the Scholar Athletes of the Year.
The winners were announced at Merrimack’s annual Leadership, Education, Athletics and Development (LEAD) Awards at the Rogers Center.
Below is a summary of each award unveiled at Wednesday’s reception.
Male Athlete of the Year (Video with Finalists):
Joe Cannata became the first-ever All-American goaltender in school history and was the first first-team all-conference selection since 1994. A two-time Hobey Baker nominee, Cannata is Merrimack’s all-time leader in wins, games played, minutes played, saves, goals against and save percentage and allowed just 27 even strength goals in 27 league games. He appeared in 36 games as a senior, posting a 17-12-7 record, with a 2.18 goals-against-average and a .927 save percentage.
Female Athlete of the Year (Video with Finalists):
April Daugherty was a first-team All-American and the Northeast-10 Player of the Year after leading the field hockey team to its first-ever Northeast-10 Championship and its first-ever Final Four appearance. Also an all-academic selection, Daugherty led the league with 22 goals and 6 game-winners and owns season and career program records for goals, assists, points, shots and game-winners. She was fourth nationally in goals per game, leading Merrimack to a school record 17 game winning streak.
Male Scholar Athlete of the Year (Video with Finalists):
Robbie Sabadoz was an Academic All-American and the recipient of the Northeast-10 Scholar Athlete Sport Excellence Award for the second straight year. A first-team all-conference selection, he led the men’s soccer team in scoring and became the third player in program history to amass 100 career points. A business major with a 3.85 GPA, Sabadoz is a four-time all-academic selection and now a two-time recipient of this award.
Female Scholar Athlete of the Year (Video with Finalists):
Jessica Peacock was a first-team Academic All-American and a first-team Athletic All-American. Now a two-time Northeast-10 Defensive Player of the Year, she led Merrimack to the Northeast-10 Championship and the NCAA Tournament. A psychology and education major with a 3.7 GPA, Peacock was a first-team all-conference, all-academic and an all-region selection as a team captain.
Male Rookie of the Year (Video with Finalists):
Vince Bellino led the men’s tennis team to their first-ever outright Northeast-10 Regular Season and Tournament Championship while earning first-team all-conference honors in doubles and second-team honors in singles. A three-time NE-10 Rookie of the Week, he leads the men’s tennis team into the NCAA Tournament this weekend.
Women’s Rookie of the Year (Video with Finalists):
Shakee Messina was a third-team all-conference and an all-rookie team selection while playing at the #1 singles position for the women’s tennis team. She led Merrimack to a fifth-place finish with a 15-6 record. She was a five-time NE-10 Rookie of the Week.
Community Service Award (Video with Finalists):
The women’s basketball team has partnered with Habitat for Humanity this season. They teamed up to help transform a local building into an apartment complex in nearby Lawrence.
As of April 25, three teams (field hockey, women’s soccer, men’s tennis) were selected to the NCAA Tournament, while two teams (field hockey, men’s tennis) won Northeast-10 Championships, each winning outright titles for the first time ever. Meanwhile, six teams (field hockey, women’s soccer, hockey, men’s lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, softball) were ranked nationally.
Nine student-athletes have earned athletic All-American honors (Daugherty, Kerri Bergquist, Jen Otis, Katie Zubkus, Loiseau, Isaiah Voegeli, Peacock, Wayne Mack, Cannata), while three earned academic All-American honors (Sabadoz, Peacock, Ryan Flanigan).
Academically, Merrimack achieved its highest GPA in the fall over the last 11 semesters (3.05), while 12 student-athletes earned a perfect 4.0 GPA.