SOMERSET, N.J. – Led by three teams finishing in the top two in the Northeast Conference standings and another winning an NEC title, the Bryant University athletic department took home its fifth-straight NEC Men's Commissioner Cup, as announced Monday by the conference office.
Bryant saw its men's tennis program win the NEC title for the fifth-straight year, while baseball captured the NEC regular-season crown, and football and men's lacrosse both posted second-place finishes in conference play.
The Bulldogs earned 84.43 points for their fifth-straight cup, edging Central Connecticut (84.26). Wagner (77.69) placed third.
Bryant finished third in the overall standings for the Brenda Weare Commissioner's Cup, which was taken by Saint Francis U for the first time in the Red Flash's history. Saint Francis U and Sacred Heart finished first and second both in the overall Brenda Weare Commissioner's Cup and the Joan Martin Women's Commissioner's Cup.
"Our student-athletes have once again proven to be some of the best in the Northeast Conference," Director of Athletics Bill Smith said. "This accomplishment is not only a testament to how hard our student-athletes worked this year, but the efforts put in by our coaches and support staff to build consistent programs that are at the top of the league every year. Congratulations to all of our student-athletes, coaches and staff on this tremendous honor."
Five Bryant athletes earned NEC Player of the Year or major awards in 2017-18, as junior Thomas Costigan (Stamford, Conn.) was selected as Defensive Player of the Year in football, junior Jess DeMeo (Mount Sinai, N.Y.) earned Player of the Year honors in women's lacrosse, redshirt-junior Matt Kuhar (Smithfield, R.I.) was tabbed as Player of the Year in men's tennis, junior Kirstyn Sperry (Phoenix, Ariz.) collected Setter of the Year honors in volleyball and redshirt-freshman Ryan Ward (Millbury, Mass.) was honored as Player of the Year in baseball.
Seven Bulldogs – Ward, football's Andre Brackett (East Windsor, Conn.), men's tennis' Wilson Dong (Bradenton, Fla.), men's indoor track & field's Chris Fasano (Lake Grove, N.Y.) and men's lacrosse's Marc O'Rourke (Hingham, Mass.), women's tennis' Arianna Oropeza (Weston, Fla.), and women's swimming & diving's Elin Svard (Falun, Dalarna, Sweden) – were chosen as NEC Rookie of the Year or Meet in their respective sports.