WASHINGTON — During a gala afternoon at the Pryzbyla Center on the campus of The Catholic University of America, the Athletics Department handed out its 2018 major awards during the annual senior celebration.
In addition to every senior being recognized, Catholic presented its six major awards with the help of special guests Allie Bond '17, Keith Ricca '09 and Lexi Halperin '16.
Field hockey All-American Kelly Cousoulis and men's soccer and tennis star Matthew Holtschneider took home the Donley and Harris Cups, Catholic Athletics' most prestigious honors. Four-time NCAA Women's Lacrosse Tournament Regional performer Nicolette Crisalli and men's basketball2,000-point scorer Jay Howard were recognized as the Outstanding Senior Athletes while volleyball standout Tara Rempel and football's Mr. CUA Patrick Vidal were recognized as the Jone Dowd Role Model winners.
The Donley and Harris Cups are presented annually to a female and male student-athletes regarded as outstanding leaders, athletes, and scholars who made a considerable contribution to the campus and community.
Holtschneider has been tackling the most compelling and competitive athletic and academic environments possible and he's excelled on all fronts.
He graduated having recently been selected as the Anthony J. Scullen award winner, an honor given to the student with the highest GPA in the Catholic School of Engineering. Similarly, he earned the distinction of having the highest GPA of all University male student-athletes.
After leading the soccer team back to the conference tournament this past fall, Matt was not only a First Team All-League selection, but he was also chosen by conference officials as the Landmark Men's Soccer Scholar Athlete of the Year. Immediately shifting gears from fall soccer to spring tennis, Matt was in the singles and doubles lineup every day, battling opponents, and leading the team.
Add to these impressive attributes, involvement in multiple, annual service projects, and membership in not only the Catholic University Honors program, but also two different Honors societies, and the incredible breadth of his impact on our community becomes clear.
Cousoulis was a dominant force in the classroom, community, and on the field for the field hockey program. Since joining the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee as a freshman, where she helped coordinate Brookland Field Day and Polar Plunge, she has sought out leadership roles wherever available.
She holds the distinction of earning the following athletic accolades, not once but twice: First Team All-Conference, League Player of the Year, First-Team All-Region, and All-American. Just as impressively, this past fall she was named the Landmark Field Hockey Scholar Athlete of the Year.
Additionally, Kelly was a member of three different Honors societies – a national honor in political science, an international honor in the Social Sciences, and a second national honor for first-year students. She is a multi-year member of the Dean's List and Landmark Conference Honor Roll. Lastly, Kelly was also chosen to be a member of the Catholic University President's Society, which exists to honor those students who combine academics, integrity, university-wide awareness, participation, and leadership demonstrated by their significant contributions to the life of the University.
The Outstanding Senior Student-Athlete Award is presented to the male and female athlete who have made significant contributions to their respective teams. Among them are Catholic record holders, NCAA Championship Tournament participants, and major conference award winners. Each has played a significant role in their team's success over the past four years.
In over 100 years of varsity basketball at Catholic, Jay Howard finished his Cardinal career with the third most points in program history (2,122). He earned All-American honors from two different publications. Impressively, Jay had been so dominant through his first three years as a player, he was chosen as a member of the Landmark Conference's All-Decade Team.
Additionally, he earned All-Region accolades in three consecutive seasons. He not only was named League Rookie of the Year as a freshman, and Player of the Year this past March, Jay also holds the unique distinction of being a four-time, First Team All-Conference selection.
Beyond being an 11-time Conference Player of the Week honoree, Jay also led his teammates to 2 NCAA tournament bids, 2 regular season conference championships and 1 conference tournament title.
Crisalli is a multi-year First Team All-Conference and All-Region selection and is an All-America candidate this season.
As a sophomore, Nicolette led the league in goals scored. And even as a first-year player, she was dominant, leading a team that advanced to the Elite 8 in goals.
Amazingly, Nicolette (and her fellow seniors) have never lost in conference play throughout four years of competition. That resulted in four conference titles, four NCAA tournament berths and four seasons of being ranked nationally as a team.
Nicolette has been the offensive catalyst for a program that has reached the aforementioned Elite Eight in 2015 and the Sweet 16 in 2016, 2017 and 2018, with a chance to go even farther this year.
The Jone Dowd Student-Athlete Role Model Award is given annually to a male and female student-athlete who exudes graciousness in victory, humility in defeat and rallies their peers to consistently compete at a high level in athletics and beyond.
While Vidal's grit, tenacity and overall toughness helped turn him into one of the most dominant defensive linemen in Division III this year, his thoughtfulness, selflessness, and caring for others while working toward his degree in Nursing, make Patrick absolutely unique.
An outstanding student in an extremely challenging major, Vidal excelled in every game this year, was a difference-making team captain and led every service project for the football team. He even chose to spend his senior spring break building homes in Alabama for Habitat for Humanity.
Vidal earned multiple All-Conference honors, was named All-Region and became a finalist for the Cliff Harris Award - given annually to the best small college defensive player in the country. Beyond earning All-District Academic honors from the College Sports Information Directors of America, Patrick was also named to the All-Conference Academic team three different times, was a three-year CUA Dean's List honoree, and was a member of Sigma Theta Tau - the National Honors Society for Nursing.
Rempel has been an outstanding leader on and off the volleyball court. Besides being a multi-year starter, team captain, and conference all-sportsmanship team selection, she is a Dean's list honoree, President of Pi Gamma Mu, the Social Sciences Honor Society, Vice President of the Psi Chi Psychology Honors Society, and a member of Phi Eta Sigma, a national honors society.
Additionally, she was the recipient of the University's John J. Convey Award, an honor given to one second-year student who exhibits extraordinary leadership potential in their academic and leadership pursuits. Just a year later, Tara was honored with the Mary J. O'Dwyer Flynn Memorial award – the highest junior female leadership award at the University.
Throughout her career, she was highly active in service projects and trips. Her list of activities serving others is long…the MLK Day of Service, Halloween on Campus, Spring to CUA, Special Olympics DC events, Brookland Field Day, and even a CUA Mission trip to the Dominican Republic during her junior year.
The closing remarks and toast were made by men's lacrosse's Bennett Bradley.
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