ATTLEBORO, Mass.- Lesley University senior Tom Muratore (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) was named the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Male Senior Student-Athlete of the Year, while Bay Path University senior Lauren Vallee(Bristol, Conn.) earned the honor on the women's side. This is a first on both sides, as Muratore is the first Lesley male to garner the award, while Vallee is the first Bay Path student-athlete honored in the eight-year history of the NECC award.
The NECC Senior Student-Athlete of the Year is given annually to the top seniors in the conference, and is determined by a vote of the conference's Athletic Directors. The award recognizes athletic and academic successes, while also factoring in leadership and community service components.
Muratore was stellar on the mound in his four-year pitching career for the Lynx. Named the 2015 NECC Baseball Rookie of the Year, he was also a second team all-conference honoree as a freshman. His sophomore campaign saw Muratore become the program's leader in wins in a season with 11. He continued his success in his junior year, leading the Lynx to their first ever NECC Championship, garnering first-team All-Conference honors.
As a senior, Muratore led the conference in wins (9), complete games (5), shutouts (2) and strikeouts (71). He added another first-team All-Conference honor to his resume, and was voted the 2018 NECC Pitcher of the Year. He continued adding hardware to his trophy case, earning American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Rawlings third team All-Region accolades, as well as third-team New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) honors, and was selected to represent his squad at the annual NEIBA Senior All-Star Game.
A Middle School Education and Earth and Environmental Science major, Muratore has also proved to be successful in the classroom, earning NECC Academic All-Conference honors in 2016, 2017, and 2018. The distinction is awarded to NECC student-athletes with a minimum 3.4 GPA, with a sophomore class standing or higher.
Muratore was also a leader on campus, serving as President of of the Lesley Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), and was a member of Chi Sigma Alpha. Also active in the community, he volunteered at numerous local organizations, and recently ran in the Maine marathon relay as a part of the Marr Fund to raise money to support the Josephine and John Marr Alzheimer's Research Fund at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH).
Lesley head baseball coach Billy Cather has nothing but praise for the senior, "Tom has been the backbone of our program for the last four years. He is everything a coach could ask for in a Division III student-athlete. Tom was not only successful on the field and a leader in the clubhouse, but he was also a big presence on campus and was extremely successful in the classroom. He has transformed the baseball program and I could not be more proud or thankful."
Capping off his senior year at Lesley, he was named the University's Male Student-Athlete of the Year.
A two-sport athlete, Lauren Vallee played both volleyball and softball in her highly decorated four-year career for the Wildcats. As a sophomore, Vallee earned NECC second-team All-Conference honors for her play on the volleyball court, while also garnering softball third team All-Conference honors. She broke-out in her junior campaign on the diamond, batting .565 with 11 home runs, leading NCAA Division III in slugging percentage and doubles per game, on her way to being named the NECC Softball Player of the Year. She was also a first team All-Conference honoree, a National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) second team All-New England honoree and the Fastpitch News (FPN) NCAA Division III Offensive Player of the Year.
In her senior campaign, Vallee led Bay Path to their first-ever NECC Softball Championship, earning first-team All-Conference accolades, along with first team NFCA All-New England accolades.
Vallee is just as accomplished in the classroom, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Forensic Science. She earned the Dean's List distinction in all eight semesters, and was also named NECC Academic All-Conference in 2016, 2017, and 2018. As a senior she was inducted into Delta Delta Epsilon, the Forensic Science Honor Society.
Vallee served as President of Bay Path's SAAC and spent time peer tutoring, for which she was the recipient of the 2017-2018 Bashevkin Center for Academic Excellence in Peer Tutoring Award. She also volunteered at various community organizations every chance she had. She was rewarded for her positive influence on the campus and the surrounding community with Bay Path University's Eagle Award, which is presented to a "traditional undergraduate student who has had a significant impact on the Bay Path community by exhibiting an overall positive attitude and demonstrating leadership in campus activities and athletics."
Bay Path Athletic Director and head softball coach Steve Smith is excited for a student-athlete of Vallee's caliber to be honored. "We are very happy and honored that Lauren was chosen for this award. She has been highly successful both academically and athletically," said Smith. "She truly is the definition of a student-athlete, playing two sports and excelled at both. She is the perfect student to be honored with this award."
Vallee will continue her education in the fall, pursuing her masters at the University of New Haven.