Diaz; Hesse Named Top Student-Athletes at Honors Night

ANDERSON, S.C. – Anderson University senior women’s basketball standout Alissa Diaz and men’s soccer goalkeeper Lukas Hesse were named the Female and Male Athletes of the Year, respectively, at the annual Athletics Honors Night Wednesday evening at the Abney Athletic Center.

Diaz capped her stellar career by earning honorable mention All-America accolades from the Women’s Division II Bulletin in early April. She also captured First-Team All-Southeast Region honors after helping lead the Trojans to the league’s regular-season title – the first for Anderson since joining the SAC for the 2010-11 campaign. The 5-foot-10 guard ranked second in the conference in scoring at 16.8 points per game and was the league’s second-best free throw shooter at 85.3 percent, while recording the seventh-highest field goal percentage at 47.1-percent.

The Coral Springs, Fla., native was named South Atlantic Conference Player of the Year after earning SAC Player of the Week accolades three times and scoring in double figures in all but two of Anderson’s regular-season games, including eight 20+-point performances. She also averaged 2.7 assists per game, good for 12th in the conference and recorded 4.5 rebounds a contest, leading the Trojans to a stellar 23-9 record. Diaz was also named SAC Tournament MVP after averaging more than 18 points in three
conference tournament games.

Hesse, who earned Third-Team NSCAA All-Region honors, anchored a Trojan defense that recorded six shutouts in its final eight matches, including four straight to close out the campaign. The 6-foot-2 goalkeeper was named the SAC Tournament MVP for the second consecutive year and also garnered Second-Team All-SAC accolades after playing all but 28 minutes of the season and recording 22 career shutouts.

The native of Berlin, Germany, led Anderson to its third consecutive conference tournament title last November, as the fifth-seeded Trojans upset Catawba, top-seeded Mars Hill and Lincoln Memorial.    

In addition to the SAC Players of the Week, All-Tournament and All-Conference honorees, the men’s soccer, women’s basketball and men’s tennis teams were recognized for earning league championship titles.

Head women’s basketball coach Jim Brunelli was recognized for being named SAC Coach of the Year after his team went from an eighth-place predicted finish in the SAC preseason poll to the regular-season conference championship, becoming the third consecutive team to claim both the regular-season title and tournament crown in the same season. He also went on to guide the Trojans to the conference tournament title and their eighth overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament appearance.   

Men’s basketball standout Chandler Hash was honored for being selected as the South Atlantic Conference Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year, becoming the third consecutive conference honoree for the award from AU’s men’s basketball team, following back-to-back awards earned by former standout Nick Trull. Hash, a guard, finished the regular season as the SAC’s fifth-leading scorer at 17.9 points per game. He also led the conference in free-throw shooting at 90-percent and was second in three-point field goal percentage at 48.6-percent. In the classroom, Hash carries a 3.52 GPA studying education.

The Trojan men’s and women’s track and field teams took home the “Trojan Pride” award for their demonstrated pride in being an Anderson University Trojan. The two squads received multiple nominations for the award, which is presented annually to a team or an individual that exhibits and represents the highest level of pride in the program. It was common for them to carry the Trojan flag at home events and make appearances at nearly all home events.

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