The best of the best

Player of the Year:

Alyssa Lagonia (Midfield – Women’s Soccer)

By taking the CIS player of the year honour in 2011, Lagonia capped her Laurier career with an outstanding season. The midfielder had five goals and a team-high 34 shots in 14 games, and helped her Hawks reach the OUA final where they would fall to the Queen’s Gaels. Lagonia’s presence would be felt on offense as well as on the backline, and there were rarely times when coach Barry MacLean couldn’t use her in all situations. Her ability to control the ball and her touch makes her a constant threat on the field and her footwork makes it almost impossible for defenders to take the ball away. Lagonia now plays for the Doncaster Rovers Belles in the Women’s Super League in England.
– Kevin Campbell

Most Improved Player:
Tammy Freiburger (Forward – Women’s Hockey)

Refusing to hide in the shadows, Tammy Freiburger made a mark on her women’s hockey team this year. After a mediocre first year with four goals and six assists, Freiburger tripled her career numbers in the 2011/2012 year with 18 goals and 12 assists. The second year Wingham native tied the lead for overall points on the Hawks, and tied the team for most points during the post-season with four goals and three assists- an exponential improvement from her 2010/2011 season, when she tallied one goal and one assist throughout the playoffs. Freiburger’s continuous efforts, improved marksmanship and set-up ability has made her an important asset of the Hawks’ squad.
– Shelby Blackley

Coach of the Year:
Barry MacLean (Women’s Soccer)

With a record of 12 wins and two losses, Barry MacLean had a lot of talent to work with during the 2011 campaign, but it was how he positioned the pieces in the puzzle that helped the Hawks earn an OUA silver medal. His identification of newly-transferred Krista Cellucci’s offensive prowess, Tania Pedron’s pivot-like positioning at centre-field, Heather Malizia’s short outbursts of speed along the wings and Emily Brown’s touch around the net, all culminated in a terrific season for the purple and gold. His focus on work ethic and tidy play led to a winning culture and the bench boss was never satisfied until the perfect win came along. MacLean was always looking for ways to improve upon near-perfection. Some call it nit-picking but MacLean would call it necessary to gain that elusive champion status.
MacLean has previously coached the men’s soccer team as well and has been entered into the Giolden Hawk Hall of Fame in 1999.
– Kevin Campbell

Rookie of the Year:
Erika Thunder (Goaltender – Women’s Hockey)

Having to follow in the footsteps of the dynamic Liz Knox, Erika Thunder surpassed all expectations for her premier year in women’s hockey. The first-year Manitoba native came into training camp injured and was assumed to be the backup goaltender for the team. However, Thunder quickly found her comfort zone between the pipes, started 22 of 26 games and led them to an OUA championship. Thunder pulled exceptional numbers throughout the year, finishing the season with a 1.30 goals against average, seven shutouts and a .930 save percentage in 26 games. The rookie played in all of Laurier’s CIS championship games and helped them to a fourth-place finish in Canada.
– Shelby Blackley

Playoff Performer:
Devon Skeats (Forward – Women’s Hockey)

Notoriously known for her enthusiasm and hi-jinks off the ice, Devon Skeats took her unbridled energy to a whole new level during the 2011/2012 playoffs, leading the Golden Hawks women’s hockey team with five goals and two assists, averaging a point a game in seven post-season contests. The jokester led her team multiple times with game winning goals, mesmerizing charisma, and inspirational plays that encouraged- as well as saved from disappointment — the Hawks throughout the post-season. She helped lead the team to another OUA title, and now has 12 goals in just 20 playoff games. Skeats also scored the Hawks’ fifth goal in a 6-5 loss to Montreal at the CIS championships.The third-year Whitby native thrives on pressure and has stated that the playoffs are “her time to shine.”
– Shelby Blackley

Fifth-Year Player of the Year:
Dillon Heap (Punt Returner/Receiver – Football)

Having smashed the OUA record for most career punt return yards with 2,071 and garnering the CIS’ Russ Jackson Award for best exemplifying the attributes of academic achievement, football skill and citizenship, Heap had an outstanding final year at Laurier. Despite dropping all his classes after the season had concluded, the team frequently used Heap as a receiver and his exciting plays frequently got the Hawks supporters to their feet. His small (five-foot-ten) frame often helped, rather than hindered him as he was able to slip past the most aggressive defensive tackles. Heap was named a CIS Second-team All Canadian and finished the year with 458 punt return yards, 121 kick-off return yards and 625 receiving yards.
– Kevin Campbell

Unsung Hero:
Heather Malizia (Midfield – Women’s Soccer)

On a highly-stacked and talented women’s soccer squadron, it was easy to lose a few sparkling performances within the year. But Heather Malizia served as the crux to an offense that scored a league-high 36 goals in 14 games. Malizia’s shiftiness and ability to draw defenders to her on the outside of the pitch helped open up space for strikers Krista Cellucci and Emily Brown to score almost at will in the box. Malizia, who was named the team’s MVP in 2008-09 and 2009-10, was named an OUA second-team all-star this year and scored the Hawks’ lone goal at the CIS championships with a laserbeam past Montreal Carabins’ goalkeeper Martine Julien in the tournament opener.
– Kevin Campbell

Team of the Year:
Women’s Curling

Considered the dynasty of the past five years, women’s curling grabbed the attention of the entire world in less than three months. Finishing their season with an OUA gold medal, a CIS gold medal, and an international gold medal in Japan, the lady curlers were unstoppable on the competitive field. The team swept the first team All-Canadian roster for the first time in history, coach Maurice Wilson won CIS Coach of the Year, and vice Sarah Wilkes won her third CIS championship — the only athlete in Laurier history to accomplish that feat. With an incredible overall record of 22-4, the Golden Hawks were a national and international force with a large target on their backs. To top off their impressive year, the team will now represent Canada in the FISU games in Italy. Skip Laura Crocker was consistently phenomenal, making shot after shot and stealing a large number of points along the way. As the last varsity team left contending for their respective championships at the end of it all, the women curlers made a name for themselves.
– Shelby Blackley

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