PHIILADELPHIA – The University of the Sciences Athletics Department is pleased to announce its End-of-Year Awards for the 2017-18 season.
Coach of the Year
Jackie Hartzell (Women's Basketball)
Hartzell led the women's basketball team to its most successful season in program history and as a result, she became the second coach in league history to be named the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Coach of the Year multiple times. At the conclusion of the season, she was then voted the NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Coach of the Year in a fan vote conducted by Hero Sports.
More information on the women's basketball team's on-court success can be found below.
Off the court, Hartzell's team raised money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, participated in Trunk-or-Treat and Adopt-A-Family, hosted honorary captains from Athletes Helping Athletes, and posted a team GPA of 3.64 during the Fall 2017 Semester.
Team of the Year
As mentioned women's basketball (30-4, 17-2 CACC) had not only its most successful season in program history, but also the most success amongst any team in CACC history as it matched Holy Family (2008, 2010, 2012) to become the fourth team in league history to reach the Sweet 16 and East Region Final.
The team won its second straight, and third CACC Southern Division Championship in four years, as well as its second consecutive CACC Tournament Championship. It set program records for wins, regular season victories (25), win-streak (18), CACC victories for a 19-game schedule and national ranking (No. 11).
Entering the season with a lone NCAA Tournament victory from the previous year, the team won two NCAA Tournament games to advance to its first-ever Sweet 16 and East Region Final. It ended the year ranked No. 15 in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association Division II Coaches' Poll.
Female Rookie of the Year
Danielle Paran (Tennis)
In her first season on campus, Paran set the USciences single-season record for doubles wins in a season. She and partner Elkanah Linder went 16-5 on the year, including going 7-1 in CAAC play. They also won a match together at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's (ITA) East Regionals.
In singles play Paran finished an even 9-9, accumulating a combined record of 7-2 at the third and fourth flight. She also spent time at No. 2 singles, while finishing 4-3 in the CACC.
Male Rookie of the Year
Johnathan Epstein (Cross Country/Track & Field)
Epstein made an immediate impact for a young cross country team in the fall, and then became the first All-CACC performer in the USciences track and field program's history.
Epstein won the second collegiate cross country event he raced in, winning the first annual Cheyney University Running of the Wolves by over 32 seconds to help the Devils capture their first team title since 2010. A couple of weeks later he then ran the third-fastest 8k in program history, 27:33, and the fastest within the program since Mark Shaw at the 1983 NAIA National Championships.
At the season-ending CACC Cross Country Championships Epstein nearly earned All-CACC honors as a rookie, finishing just one second and one spot out of the accolade as he placed 16th.
Competing for the inaugural USciences track and field team in the winter and spring, Epstein made sure he did not miss out on All-CACC honors again as he capped his freshman campaign with a second place finish in the 5000m at the CACC Championships. He ran the third-fastest time in the four-year history of the Championships, finishing just 3.5 seconds behind the winner.
Karla Miletic (Tennis)
Miletic, a sophomore, posted her fourth consecutive 4.0 GPA semester to begin her academic career at USciences in Spring 2018. A physics major, she was named to the CACC All-Academic Team in her first season of eligibility in the fall.
On the court, Miletic became the first repeat CACC Women's Tennis Player of the Year since 2011-12 after completing her second consecutive unbeaten league season at 7-0. She is now a perfect 15-0 in her CACC career, with all 15 wins coming at No. 1 singles.
Miletic completed the 2017-18 season with a team-best 13-6 singles record, and also went 12-10 in doubles play as part of the Devils' No. 1 pair. She advanced to the Quarterfinals of the ITA East Regionals in both the singles and doubles bracket.
Will Gregorits (Basketball)
Gregorits closed out his academic career with GPA's of 3.81 and 4.0 in the respective Fall 2018 and Spring 2018 semesters. The Dean's List Honors were the fifth and sixth of his career, which also included a spot on the 2016-17 CACC All-Academic Team.
Gregorits capped his athletic career with a second straight All-CACC honor, becoming the sixth player in program history to earn All-CACC recognition multiple times in a career. He was named to the Third Team after a season in which he averaged a near double-double of 15.1 points and 9.6 rebounds, numbers that ranked 15th and second in the conference, respectively.
The senior also ranked ninth in the league in both field goal percentage (49.2) and free throw percentage (78.5), as well as 13th in blocks per game (0.7). He led a rebounding attack that recorded a +8.1 rebounding margin, ninth in the NCAA and second all-time in CACC history.
Female Athlete of the Year
Sarah Abbonizio (Basketball)
In the midst of women's basketball's historic season Abbonizio had a historic season of her own, as she became the third player in program history to be voted CACC Player of the Year.
The accolades did not stop there as the senior was also the 2018 Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Performer of the Year, a D2CCA East Region First Team selection, a member of the NCAA All-East Regional Team, a 2017-18 CoSIDA First-Team Academic All-District honoree, and the Dec. 2017 CACC Student-Athlete of the Month.
USciences' leading scorer, Abbonizio ranked fifth in the CACC at 15.9 points per game. She scored eight or more points in 33-of-34 appearances and 10 times she scored at least 20, including in the final two games of the East Regional. Her 540 total points ranked fifth in the program's single-season annals.
In addition, Abbonizio was in the top-seven of the CACC in both free throws (3.4) and field goals per game (5.4), while her 80.9 free throw percentage was 10th. Her 114 free throws ranked 10th in the program's single-season history, while her 184 field goals were one shy of the top-10.
Male Athlete of the Year (Thursday, May 17)
Flo Da-Silva (Basketball)
Da-Silva was the engine behind the men's basketball team that qualified for its sixth consecutive CACC Tournament, where it would knock off top-seed Bloomfield in the Quarterfinals.
In just the fourth season of the award, Da-Silva repeated as CACC Defensive Player of the Year. He was also named All-CACC for the first time in his career, earning his way on to the Second Team.
The senior finished the season atop the CACC and ranked fourth in the NCAA at 2.8 steals per game, with his 79 steals ranking seventh in the program's single-season annals. In 29 games, he had three games with at least six steals, eight games with at least four, 16 with at least three and 20 with at least two. He recorded at least one steal in every game.
Da-Silva anchored a USciences defense that led the CACC in scoring defense (66.1), field goal percentage defense (40.5) and 3-point percentage defense (31.4), numbers that all ranked in the top-13 of the NCAA.
In addition he averaged 12.8 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game, the latter two of which were sixth in the league.