Brown Lacrosse Captains Named; Team Awards Announced

Providence, R.I. - Head coach Lars Tiffany and the Brown men’s lacrosse team held its Annual Team Awards Banquet on Saturday, October 19, honoring the team award winners from the 2013 season and announcing the 2014 Brown lacrosse captains. Tiffany announced that senior attackman Sam Hurster (St. Louis, MO), senior middy Dan Mellynchuk (West Sayville, NY), senior defenseman Phil Pierce (Greenwich, CT) and senior defender Peter Vivonetto (Rocky Point, NY) have been named captains of the 2014 Brown men’s lacrosse team.

"Leadership boils down to one word: truth,” said Tiffany. “The mission of a team cannot be achieved without individuals from within ensuring that the effort, the commitment and the principles are true to the greatness of the team. There is no greater feeling in team sports than knowing each member's commitment is absolute, is true. Our four captains wholeheartedly embrace this objective and will not relent in this pursuit."

Hurster ranked second on the Brown team in scoring last year with 30 points, scoring 22 goals and handing out eight assists. He scored five goals in the Bears' win over Hartford, and netted three goals in games against High Point and St. Joseph's. He was a Second Team All-Ivy selection in 2012 and led the Brown team with 31 goals, third best in the Ivy League.

Mellynchuk has played in 29 career games for the Bears, and scored two goals last year, including the game-winning goal in overtime to lead Brown over UMass. He also picked-up 10 ground balls for the Bears.

Pierce is a two-year starter at close defense, who ranked fourth on the Brown team with 14 caused turnovers. He scored his second career goal in Brown's win over Harvard, and picked up 25 ground balls for the season, including five against Cornell. As a sophomore, Pierce ranked 11th in the nation in caused turnovers with 1.93 per game.

Considered the most “team first” man on the squad, Vivonetto played in 10 games for the Bears a year ago. He has persevered through a career-long back injury. Vivonetto changed positions as a freshman at the request of the coaching staff without any complaint whatsoever, doing whatever he can for the team.

2013 Team Awards

Most Valuable Offensive Player

The consummate lacrosse player, this man redefined unselfishness on the field. Combined with his intelligence and vision were his sophisticated stick skills that allowed him to make unmatched feeds that can best be described as threading the needle. Recruited as an attackman, he played most of his career in the middle of the field, developing into one of the leaders nationally for assists for midfielders in 2013. Though feeding was his greatest attribute, his elusiveness as a dodger forced our opponents to place their long-stick midfielder on him. But this did not stop him from scoring big goals this past year, with none bigger than the game-winning goal on Stevenson Field against Harvard late in the 4th quarter. He knew when it was time to set up others for the shot, and when it was time to place the responsibility on his own shoulders. The 2013 winner of the Most Valuable Offensive Player is Commerce, Organizations and Entrepreneurship concentrator George Sherman ‘13.

Vincent Marinelli Award

The Vincent Marinelli Award is an annual freshman award, distributed to the “pup,” who best exemplifies the competitive spirit and commitment to the quality of life that Vinnie himself demonstrated as a freshman at Brown in 1987. This year’s winner easily fits the statement: he never met a shot he did not like. The man exploded onto the Ivy League and National scene in his first year at Brown, making a huge impact on the offensive end of the field as evidenced by him leading our program in both goals (27) and points (35) in 2013. On top of earning Ivy League Player of the Week honors in late-March, he was also recognized as the Cascade National Rookie of the Week while scoring a combined 10 goals in the state of North Carolina, in games against the Tarheels and High Point. Despite being hindered with a bad knee at the end of the season, this man persevered through the pain and managed to help lead Brown back from a 3 goal deficit in Hanover, scoring a hat-trick in the overtime victory over Dartmouth. He serves as a role model to the other men with his commitment to being not only a great offensive player, but also as a bone crushing hitter as a riding attackman. The 2013 winner of the Vincent Marinelli Award is Business, Entrepreneurship and Organizations concentrator Henry Blynn ‘16.

The Charlie Kenney ’10 Alumni Award

Recently this award was renamed for one of Brown’s own, a man who we called a captain and a true friend. We still feel the pain of Charlie’s death, and we honor him in many ways, one being this award. Presented annually to the lacrosse player who through sportsmanship, performance and influence contributed the most to the sport at Brown, our winner this year resembles Charlie’s relentless positive and happy spirit. Similar to Charlie, he has a joy of fierce competition, a love of his teammates and a passion to be a difference-maker. Although only a freshman in 2013, he matured into such a difference-maker as the season progressed, highlighted by scoring the game-winning goals in each of the final two games of the season. His goal with 37 seconds remaining against Bryant gave Brown the victory, as did his left-handed shot down the alley versus Dartmouth in the 3rd overtime. He found a way to get the job done, just as Charlie always did. This year’s Charlie Kenney Alumni Award winner and Business, Entrepreneurship and Organizations (organizational track) concentrator is Brendan Caputo ‘16.

The Dom Starsia ‘74 Coaches Award

The Dom Starsia ‘74 coaches’ award is presented by the coaching staff to the player who best represents the spirit of Brown lacrosse. There are so many men of Brown Lacrosse who compete without excuse and who bring the Brown State edge to each practice and contest. Selecting one winner was not easy, but one man stood out, with his play and his presence, with words and without them. Prior to the UMass game, the first in which he would be the starter as a Brown Bear, this man walked onto Garber Field and went through his warm-ups like he was a grizzled veteran. He left a lasting impression that the defense and the cage were always his, and he would get the job done. He earned the win in that game and proceeded to have a 7-4 record in the goal as a freshman. He earned Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors for his 15 save performance in the win over Harvard, and his 19 saves versus Dartmouth allowed us multiple opportunities to win, which we finally did in the 3rd overtime. The coaches’ award recipient this year is BEO Organizational Track concentrator Jack Kelly ‘16.

Most Valuable Defensive Player

The 2013 Defensive MVP was an impregnable force. He was given the top matchup time and time again, being asked to defend the opponent’s best offensive threat. And he never failed in his assignment. This defenseman kept some of the most prolific scorers in the nation frustrated most of the contest. But what separated him from other great shutdown defensemen was his uncanny knack for putting the ball on the ground. In an age where the technology behind stick design has made it much tougher to dislodge the ball, this defenseman defied the odds and was tremendously skilled at creating loose balls. The highlight of this was the Providence game, where he had 10 LBCs. While many awards inexplicably escaped his honor for most of his career, he did earn national recognition as a Senior CLASS First Team All-American in 2013 as well as Academic All-American. The 2013 Defensive MVP goes to the graduated Pre-Med and current Med School student Clay Del Prince ‘13.

Jim Tepper Award

Established in 1991, this award is given in honor of Jimmy Tepper to the most improved player of the program. While this year’s recipient did not make a huge impact early in his career, he did make a major statement his senior year as he became an established offensive threat at midfield. After a major setback with a torn Achilles Heel during the 2012 season, this man faced a significant uphill climb if he were to ever compete again collegiately. Nine months of intensive rehabilitation and never-ending determination resulted in this man being stronger with his fitness and a better lacrosse player. He wanted to make an impact and he committed himself to making Brown Lacrosse better. No longer was he satisfied with just being on the field, as he proved by stepping up and scoring 15 goals in 2013, including hat tricks against Princeton and Cornell. This year’s Jimmy Tepper Most Improved Player is recent graduate and former Pre-Med turned Philosophy concentrator Alex Jones ‘13.

The Richard Q. Whelan Jr, ‘04 Unsung Hero Award

Re-named in 2005, the award is given in memory to the Brown lacrosse player who best exemplifies Ricky’s unselfish play, dedication to the program and overall commitment to excellence. This defensive midfielder is one of the most persistent young men Brown Lacrosse has seen in quite some time. He does not back down from a challenge, whether in the goal, at the faceoff X or on the basketball courts with Coach Tiffany. He also does not know how to say no, serving in many roles on campus highlighted by his position as Co-President for SAAC – the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. But do not let his pleasant off-the-field demeanor fool you; he is a tenacious competitor. His passion for Brown Lacrosse and his teammates, along with his work ethic, are clearly evident to all of us. Undeniable in his pursuits, the 2013 Ricky Whelan Unsung Hero Award goes to American Studies concentrator Corbin Booker ‘14.

The Cliff Stevenson Award

This award is presented annually to the most valuable players of the Brown Lacrosse team in honor of long-time Brown lacrosse and soccer coach Cliff Stevenson, the man our game field is named for. This year’s choice selection process was so difficult that the coaching staff has selected an unprecedented three winners. During the 2013 season, we leaned heavily upon our seniors and especially the men at the defensive end of the field for greatness with their play and with their leadership that never wavered. It was three captains who served as the backbone for the program, denying opponents scoring chances and also creating our own offensive production.

First to be described here will be the magician Sam Ford. Unparalleled with his six-foot stick skills, Sam was a ground ball machine, leading our team with 56 GBs, as well as a dodging threat, scoring 4 goals on 16 shots. When Sam stepped over the midline with the ball, his teammates knowingly anticipated an assault on the cage if the opponent erroneously shut off adjacent outlets and tried to attack him. For three years, Sam was the headquarters of the defense, controlling our slides and directing his teammates in and out of the crease. His presence and experience will be greatly missed.

Next to honor is the glove, Roger Ferguson. Our schedule brings great challenges, taking on strong teams and great individuals. With Roger squaring off head-to-head with our opponents’ best midfielders, Brown Lacrosse had the luxury of knowing that Roger could keep his matchup quiet throughout the game. He was always around the ball, wreaking havoc while also scooping up 50 GBs, second best on the team. The unselfish teammate, Roger was tied for 4th on the team in assists with 7. We will dearly miss his lockdown prowess and superior speed in the transition game.
And finally, the third man possessed both surgeon-like precision with his takeaways and a stick that may not have found the net ever in his career but could scoop up critical ground balls. In the three overtime periods versus Dartmouth, Clay Del Prince was taken out of the defensive end and put on the faceoff wings. He came through, providing us with several critical possessions despite being in an unfamiliar role. Clay was immune to the pressures placed on him throughout his career, whether it was with the toughest of attackman assignments in Division One or with critical plays required in critical moments. The three winners of the 2013 Cliff Stevenson Award Winner: Philosophy concentrator Sam Ford ‘13, American Studies concentrator Roger Ferguson ‘13 and Human Biology concentrator Clay Del Prince ‘13.
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