Student athletes excel
Stephanie Slonski, a senior guard, was named to the Little East Conference All-Star First Team and All-Defensive Team. She was also selected as one of 22 participants to play in the New England Women’s Basketball Association Senior All-Star Classic.
Senior softball players Jackie Zilnicki, Danielle Basciano and Magen Dargon were honored by the New England Intercollegiate Softball Coaches Association Division III All-Star Team. Zilnicki (Riverhead, N.Y.) was honored on the First Team, while Basciano (Holmes, N.Y.) and Dargon (Trumbull) garnered Second and Third Team honors. Shortstop Basciano and center fielder Zilnicki were also named to the 2012 Division III NFC All-American Team. Zilnicki was later named to the 2012 ECAC Division III New England Softball All-Star Team. The Colonials finished another outstanding season, going 30-15 and advancing to the Little East Conference Softball Tournament championship game.
Western women’s lacrosse advanced to its first Little East Conference Championship game. Western upset top-seeded Plymouth State University, 10-9, in a semifinal game of the Little East Conference women's lacrosse tournament. The outcome broke PSU's 13-game winning streak and sent the Colonials to their first LEC Championship game appearance. Five Colonials were also named to the 2012 Little East Conference Women’s Lacrosse All-Conference Team: Devon Edwards, Emily Brooks, Hyla Costello, Marisa Vitti and Karli Portnoy.
Conor Bierfeldt, a junior outfielder from Torrington, who twice earlier in the season was named Little East Player of the Week, was named Little East Conference Player Co-Player Year and the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association Player of the Year as the first Colonial to obtain the top player award. Bierfeldt established a new single-season record for hits, triples and runs batted, leading the conference with 10 home runs in the season. Bierfeldt was also named to the American Baseball Coaches Association Division III All-American First Team and was named the Eastern College Athletic Conference Player of the Year. Western’s baseball led the nation in home runs and home runs per game in 2012. The Colonials led Division III with 39 home runs in the final 2012 NCAA national rankings. The Colonials, 17-22, belted 39 home runs in 39 games. Western also took the nation home-runs-per-game title with one round tripper per game.
Western senior Eric Small (Glastonbury) was named to the 2012 United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Scholar All-America Team. This past season, Small won 200 of 297 face offs, a winning percentage of .673 in his final campaign. He also collected 64 ground balls in 2012. Small was named to the Little East Conference All-Conference Second Team this spring. Western men's lacrosse seniors Tyler Martone (Cheshire) and Ryan Gillis (Norwich) were invited to play in the NEILA East/West Senior All-Star game on June 8 at Harvard University. The game is a selection of the top seniors in New England at the DI, II and III level. Two former Western men’s lacrosse players were honored for their coaching excellence. Adam Lanehart, a former player and assistant coach at Western, was recently named CIAC Class S and Connecticut U.S. Lacrosse Assistant Coach of the Year. Terry Stroz was honored as the CIAC Class M Assistant Coach of the Year. Four players were named to the Little East Conference All-Star Team: senior goalie Tyler Martone to the first team and senior attack Ryan Gillis, senior midfielder Raul Bourgeois and senior specialist Eric Small to the second team.
Troy Pandolfi was named Little East Conference Men's Tennis Player of the Week. Troy Pandolfi posted a 2-0 mark at top-flight singles to help Western earn the third seed in the 2012 Little East Men's Tennis Championship. Western men’s tennis advanced to the semifinals of the Little East Conference Tournament. Three players were named to the All-Star team: senior Troy Pandolfi and senior Austin Werner to the first team, and senior Kyle Wilson to the second team. Senior Troy Pandolifi of Danbury reclaimed the Little East Conference Player of the Year award. Pandolifi has claimed the top player honors in the league over the past three seasons.