The Drexel athletics department hosted the Best of the Blue and Gold reception May 23. The main draw was the male and female recipients of the 2011 Mary and John Semanik Awards. This year’s recipients were Scott Perri of the men’s lacrosse team and Christina Mastropaolo of the field hockey team.
The Semanik awards, named after two of Drexel’s past athletic directors, are awarded to the most outstanding student-athletes at Drexel in the past year. The Semaniks, the namesakes for these awards, were responsible for taking Drexel into Division I competition in the 1970s.
This year’s recipients both happened to be named Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year in their respective sports. For Mastropaolo, this is her second consecutive year earning that honor.
When selecting the recipients for this award, Drexel’s athletic director Eric Zillmer and the rest of his committee look at several different aspects.
“What we try to do is celebrate the two athletes — female and male athletes — who bring together all of the values that we celebrate at Drexel athletics: athletic excellence, academic excellence, community outreach, responsibility, leadership, creativity — we celebrate all those value in one person,” Zillmer said.
According to Zillmer, Perri and Mastropaolo exemplify these qualities that every student-athlete at Drexel is expected to hold in high esteem.
“This year Perri and Mastropaolo, they were both CAA Players of the Year in two sports that are near the top in the country,” he said. “Women’s field hockey is one of the best conferences in the country and so is men’s lacrosse. For Drexel to have the player that the CAA considered to be their best player, in Christina’s case two-time CAA Player of the Year, it’s a great celebration that kind of caliber of student-athletes who want to come to Drexel and represent Drexel.”
Zillmer went on to say that Drexel normally prides itself as an institution that emphasizes teamwork and group success. The Semanik Awards are the one time where the athletic department sits down and highlights the accomplishments of the individuals who stand out as quality athletic ambassadors for the University.
Mastropaolo finished 2010 as the top statistical field hockey player in Drexel history. Throughout her time as a Dragon she earned several accolades in addition to her two CAA Player of the Year awards. She was also a two-time National Field Hockey Coaches Association All-America pick. The Harleysville, Pa., native also holds the all-time marks for Drexel in goals (60), game winning goals (19) and points (146).
But, the most important thing she did during her time at Drexel was during their first ever NCAA Tournament bid in 2009, when she led the Dragons all the way to the Elite Eight. Throughout that season as well as this past year, Mastropaolo led her team to victory over many highly regarded opponents.
“Just think about, during [Mastropaolo’s] four years here, the teams that [the field hockey team] beat: Stanford, California, Duke, UConn — and [they were] undefeated in the state of Pennsylvania in over 20 games.”
Perri, co-captain of the men’s lacrosse team, had the second best statistical year for a Dragon in program history with 66 points. Along with being named CAA Player of the Year, Perri was also second in the nation in points per game as well as in the top 10 in goals and assists.
The Smithtown, N.Y., native finishes his career as a Dragon ranked 11th all-time in goals with 89, 10th all-time in assists with 59 and 12th all-time in points with 148. He was successful not only on an individual level, but also as a leader of the charge for some of Drexel’s greatest wins in recent memory, including a career-high eight-point performance.
“Think about the goals that [Perri] scored, one of the all-time leaders, not only in the nation but in the history of our sport,” Zillmer said. “The teams that men’s lacrosse was associated with beating; he was part of the Notre Dame win. People didn’t talk about Drexel University having their athletic department create a situation where Notre Dame would come to them to play on their field, and then we beat them in overtime. This year when we beat No. 19 Penn State, he was very instrumental in that.”
The one constant shared by the two honorees is that they are both top scorers in the Drexel’s history. These two players exemplify what it means to be a Dragon and represent the Drexel community with pride.
“There’s something about being an athlete and scoring,” Zillmer said. “In most sports, it’s about scoring and there’s something special. It’s hard to define it verbally or to put it in a box, but when you see it you know that those people have it.”