Michele Petruzzi, Zach Mentzer Named President’s Award Winners at Annual Athletic Banquet

Senior women’s soccer standout Michele Petruzzi and senior baseball player Zach Mentzer were named the 2008 President’s Award winners on Sunday, April 27th, at the University’s annual athletic awards banquet.  The award is given each year to a male and female student-athlete who has demonstrated excellence in athletic and academic achievement.

A native of Mount Laurel, N.J., Petruzzi was a four-starter for Head Coach George Dunbar, finishing her career as a three-time Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) All-Conference performer.  During her career, Petruzzi helped the Lady Rams to a 46-29-5 overall record including the 2007 CACC Championship and served as the backbone of a defense that led the conference in scoring defense in both 2006 and 2007.  In addition to her league recognition, Petruzzi was also a two-time Daktronics All-Northeast Region selection, earning regional All-America honors as a junior and senior.

A 2007 CACC All-Conference performer at shortstop, Mentzer is playing at an All-Conference level once again this spring and has the Rams tied for first in the conference with Wilmington University.  A four-year starter for Head Coach Mark Heineman, Mentzer is hitting .276 through 36 games this season and ranks second on the team with 25 runs and third with 19 RBI.  The Delone Catholic (Pa.) High product has also made his mark as a pitcher for the Rams despite limited action this season, allowing just two hits in four relief appearances including a key save in a recent win over third-place Felician College.

The 2008 Athletic Director’s Award winners, given each year to a male and female student-athlete who have exhibited exceptional team leadership to the athletic program, were senior Jacque Curtis of the softball team and P.J. O’Brien, a golf standout.  Curtis, a 2007 CACC first-team All-Conference performer from Punxsutawney, Pa., capped her record-breaking career as the program’s all-time leader in homeruns and RBI while O’Brien, a native of Clarks Summit, Pa., led the Rams’ golf team in scoring for the third straight season.

Seniors Maddie Smith and Tim Carroll were named the 2008 Achievement Award winners, given to student-athletes who have made significant contributions to the University athletic program.  The 2007 CACC Player of the Year, Smith concludes her career as the all-time leader in victories in school history, finishing with 143 combined wins, 72 singles wins and 73 career doubles wins.  This season, she set a new single-season school-record for combined wins with 45 as the Lady Rams will attempt to secure their second NCAA Tournament bid in the past three years.  Carroll, meanwhile, is a two-year varsity soccer letterwinner for Head Coach Matt Digney, joining the team as a walk-on as a junior.  In addition to his athletic achievements, Carroll was recognized for being the University’s first-ever Rhodes Scholar candidate as well as his volunteer work last summer in Africa.

Head Golf Coach Tony Berich was selected the Bucky Harris Coach of the Year, named for the University’s late men’s basketball coach.

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