Vote: HAN-FCIAC Athletes of Week 7

The 2016 spring regular season ended and the postseason began for FCIAC teams during Week 7. Many of Fairfield County’s top student-athletes were putting on impressive performances.

The HAN Network’s sports editors and broadcasters have nominated 26 male and female athletes for the Spring Week 6 HAN-FCIAC Athletes of the Week. Check out the nominees and vote for your male and female picks below. In Week 6 voting, Connor Langan of Greenwich Baseball was the male Athlete of the Week and Gillian Kane of New Canaan Softball was the female winner.

This week’s winners (voting is open until Monday at 12:15 a.m.) will be announced during HAN’s Nutmeg Sports show on Monday, May 30, at 2 p.m. You can watch Nutmeg Sports with Rob Adams, Donald Eng and Dave Stewart Monday through Wednesday at 2 at on HAN.Network. Watch this Monday’s show that announces last week’s winners and this week’s nominees in the player below:

Mike Bernstein, Fairfield Ludlowe Baseball

Bernstein rapped out three hits, including a triple, and drove in three runs as Ludlowe qualified for the state tournament with a 10-2 win over Stamford last Tuesday at Kiwanis Field. Bernstein also scored twice. The Falcons, who lost seven of their first eight games, went 8-4 over the last 12 to earn a playoff bid.

Casey Brown, Darien Baseball

Brown was a triple shy of the cycle as the Darien Blue Wave throttled Danbury, 20-3, in the FCIAC quarterfinals on Friday at Darien High School. Brown was on base five times with two hit by pitches, a home run, double, and a single. He scored four runs and drove in three as the Blue Wave moved on to the FCIAC semifinals.

Peter Burger, Staples Lacrosse

Burger came up big with 13 saves and shut out Greenwich in the fourth quarter as Staples pulled away for a 13-8 win in Saturday’s FCIAC quarterfinal in Westport. It was the first FCIAC tournament win in program history.

Mark Galione, Ridgefield Lacrosse

Galione had six points on four goals and two assists as the Tigers rolled over Ludlowe, 16-5, in the FCIAC quarterfinals. Galione scored the final goal of the first half to make it a 6-4 game, and added two more late in the third, and one in the fourth.

Mike Gonzalez, Norwalk Baseball

Gonzalez tossed a playoff gem as the Bears defeated Ridgefield, 3-1, in the FCIAC quarterfinals Friday at Nathan Hale Middle School. Gonzalez allowed just two hits, both singles, and one unearned run, while walking one and striking out seven in seven innings. The Tigers’ one run was unearned in the first inning, and Gonzalez then retired the next 17 batters.

Colin Minicus, Darien Lacrosse

Minicus racked up eight points as the top-seeded Blue wave routed St. Joe’s, 22-2, in the FCIAC quarterfinals on Saturday. Minicus scored four goals and dished out four assists.

Drew Morris, New Canaan Lacrosse

Morris made 12 saves as New Canaan Rams edged the Wilton Warriors, 7-6, in the FCIAC quarterfinals Saturday at Dunning Field. The Warriors were shut out in the first quarter as New Canaan built a 3-0 lead, and Morris stopped the first six shots taken by Wilton. He was also big down the stretch, as the Warriors tied the game twice but never took the lead.

John Natoli, Fairfield Warde Baseball

Natoli was outstanding in his pitching start against Norwalk on Monday night. He struck out 14 and held the Bears to just four hits in a complete-game effort, as Warde clinched an FCIAC baseball playoff spot with a 5-1 win.

Joe Nemcheck, Trumbull Baseball

Nemcheck picked up a complete-game victory with a great performance in a 2-1 win over St. Joseph in the FCIAC quarterfinals. He allowed the one run on just five hits and one walk, while striking out six.

Will Perry, Greenwich Lacrosse

Perry scored five goals and had an assist when the Big Red won a 17-10 decision from Trumbull High.

Eric van der Els, Brien McMahon Track & Field

Van der Els won the distance double at the FCIAC championship, finishing first in the 1,600-meter race (4:15.32) and the 3,200-meter race (9:17.64). He won the former race by more than a second and the latter by more than three seconds.

Joe Zanchetti, St. Joseph Baseball

Joe Zanchetti finished the regular season with a 5-0 record after tossing a four-hitter at Trinity Catholic. Zanchetti struck out nine in his complete game effort.

Girls – 14

Catherine McAvoy, Greenwich Golf

Catherine McAvoy shot a three-under-par round of 34 to lead Greenwich to a 172-188 win over Fairfield Warde at the Griffith E. Harris course. Her score was a Greenwich High School record on that course.

Hannah Belanger, Wilton Softball

Hannah Belanger drove in the game-winning run in the eighth inning of the Warriors’ 6-5 win over Norwalk on Wednesday. Belanger had four hits, scored two runs, stole two bases and had two RBIs on the day.

Jordan Benzaken, Westhill Softball

Benzaken, the Vikings’ catcher, had two hits and three RBIs in Westhill’s 10-1 FCIAC quarterfinal win over Ludlowe on Saturday. The second-seeded Vikings have won 15 of their last 16 games.

Kanajzae Brown, Bridgeport Central Track & Field

Kanajzae Brown won FCIAC titles in the 100- and 200-meter dashes during the conference championships Saturday in Danbury. The senior won the 100 dash in 12.28 and the 200 dash in 25.57.

Bridget Chiaravalle, Danbury Track & Field

Chiaravalle won the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles and was part of the victorious 4×100 relay, helping the Hatters edge Ridgefield by 13 points and finish first at the FCIAC championship.

Hannah DeBalsi, Staples High Track & Field

Hannah DeBalsi won FCIAC championships in the 1,600-meter run (4:59.98) and the 3,200-meter run (10:42.89) during the conference meet on Saturday in Bethel. She won the 1600 by nearly 10 seconds and the 3,200 by nearly 40 seconds.

Catherine Granito, New Canaan Lacrosse

Granito had four points on three goals and one assist, and also caused five turnovers in New Canaan’s 14-4 win against Norwalk in the FCIAC quarterfinals. The Rams led 8-1 at halftime and cruised to the 10-goal decision.

Paige Mautner, Greenwich Lacrosse

Mautner had a game-best six points on four goals and two assists as the fourth-seeded Cardinals got past fifth-seeded Wilton, 16-12, in the FCIAC quarterfinals on Friday. Mautner scored all four of her goals in the first half, when Greenwich took a 10-5 lead.

Kaitlyn McMullan, Ridgefield Lacrosse

McMullan scored six times, including the game-winner 20 seconds into overtime, as the Tigers beat Greenwich, 8-7, Tuesday at Cardinal Stadium.

Emily Philippides, Greenwich High, Track

Emily Philippides broke the FCIAC mark in the 800 when the sophomore ran a 2:12.34 for the third-place finishing Cardinals.

Lucie Picard, Ridgefield Lacrosse

Picard, a junior midfielder, broke a 6-6 tie by scoring on a bounce shot with just under 10 minutes to play in the Tigers’ 7-6 victory over Fairfield Warde in the FCIAC quarterfinals.

Maddie Santora, Stamford Softball

Santora went 3-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and two RBIs as the sixth-seeded Black Knights defeated No. 3 Warde, 7-2, in Saturday’s FCIAC quarterfinals. Santora also stole home as part of a double steal in the top of the sixth to snap a 2-2 tie.

Ally Szabo, Trumbull Softball

Ally Szabo hit the go-ahead two-run single in the fifth inning and pitched the Eagles to a 6-4 victory over Darien High in the FCIAC quarterfinals. Szabo struck out eight batters and walked only one, while allowing five hits.

Nicole Williams, St. Joseph Softball

Nicole Williams struck out 21 batters in St. Joseph’s 2-0 FCIAC quarterfinal win over Danbury High. When Danbury put the tying runs on base after a couple of errors in the sixth inning, Williams struck out the next three batters. The Hatters finished with two hits.

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