Six honorees will be inducted during homecoming weekend on Friday, September 23
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (July 8, 2016) – Western New England University has announced its 2016 Downes Athletic Hall of Fame class, the 18th in school history.
Mike Flynn '82 (contributor), Laurie Matochik Devaney '86 (softball/volleyball), Scott Thornton '05 (men's soccer), Mark Bergey '06 (men's lacrosse), Jennifer Dabrowski Hover '08 (women's basketball), and Nicole Poli '11 (women's lacrosse/women's soccer), will be honored for their contributions to Western New England athletics at an induction ceremony and dinner event during homecoming weekend on Friday, September 23rd at a site to be determined.
The six-person 2016 class brings the total number of Downes Hall of Fame inductees to 94. The Hall of Fame was established in 1999 to pay tribute to the outstanding performances of student-athletes, contributors, coaches, administrators and teams that have shaped the rich history of Western New England Athletics. It is named in honor of Arthur William "Red" Downes, a member of the Western New England coaching staff and faculty for 45 years who was inducted in the inaugural 1999 class.
More information on the 2016 class:
Mark Bergey, a defenseman for the men's lacrosse program from 2003-06, was an integral member of Western New England teams that captured consecutive Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) New England Championships and emerged as a national contender in Division III.
The Ambler, Pa. native made an immediate impact for the Golden Bears, earning the first of his two Unsung Hero awards as a freshman in 2003. With Bergey helping to anchor the defensive unit, Western New England set the program record for wins (14) in 2004 and then matched that mark in 2005, with the squad claiming ECAC New England titles in both seasons.
Bergey served as a team co-captain during his senior campaign in 2006, as the Golden Bears went 8-0 in Pilgrim League play (14-3 overall) and finished the season ranked No. 22 in the final United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Division III Poll. A two-time All-Pilgrim League second team selection, he became just the second Western New England player to be selected for the prestigious USILA North-South Senior All-Star Game in 2006.
Bergey went on to serve as an assistant coach with the Western New England men's lacrosse program for two years following his graduation, and he is currently the Director of Operations for the men's lacrosse team at Ohio State University.
Jennifer Dabrowski Hover
Jennifer Dabrowski Hover, a guard for the women's basketball team from 2004-08, was one of the most prolific scorers and top overall players in program history. A two-time Western New England Coca-Cola Female Athlete of the Year award winner, Dabrowski was a three-time All-Conference performer, collecting Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Player of the Year accolades as a senior in 2007-08. The Plainville, Conn. native currently ranks fourth on Western New England's all-time scoring list with 1,545 points.
Following a solid freshman season in which she ranked third on the team in scoring (7.3 ppg) and collected Western New England Rookie of the Year honors, Dabrowski enjoyed a breakout sophomore campaign in 2005-06. She averaged a team-best 13.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game during her first season in the starting lineup on her way to Springfield Republican All-Division Area Team, All-Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) second team and Western New England MVP accolades.
Dabrowski continued to improve as a junior in 2006-07, upping her scoring average to 16.1 points per game with 25 double-figure scoring efforts. She earned a spot on the D3hoops.com All-Northeast Region second team and All-GNAC first team at the conclusion of the season.
Dabrowski capped her standout career with an impressive senior campaign in 2007-08, garnering CCC Player of the Year honors in Western New England's first season as a conference member. She also landed on the All-CCC first team in addition to D3hoops.com All-Northeast Region first team, CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine College Division District 1 second team, and All-ECAC DIII New England second team recognition.
Mike Flynn, who earned both his undergraduate (1982) and graduate ('83) degrees from Western New England, is being inducted into the Downes Hall of Fame as a contributor.
The Wilbraham, Mass. native and owner/CEO of Hampden Engineering Corporation in nearby East Longmeadow has been a longtime supporter of Western New England athletics and is a member of the University's Board of Trustees. Flynn's support has been essential in the development of both the outdoor athletic facilities and the Alumni Healthful Living Center. Most recently, his contributions were instrumental in the opening of the Flynn Family Golden Bear Pavilion last fall, which is named in his honor.
Flynn's generosity and leadership have been integral to the success of Western New England athletics over the years.
Laurie Matochik Devaney
Laurie Matochik Devaney, a centerfielder with the softball program from 1983-86, was a three-time All-National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) District 5 selection. She graduated as the program's single-season record holder for triples (ten), home runs (four) and runs batted in (32). The Port Chester, N.Y. native was a member of Western New England teams that posted a combined 82-36 (.695) record over her four-year career.
Matochik emerged as a key contributor for the 1984 squad that went 16-8 and reached the championship contest of both the NAIA District 5 and ECAC Division III New England Tournaments, batting .355 (2nd on team) with a then-program record four home runs, 21 RBI and 22 runs in 23 games.
The following season, Matochik and the Golden Bears enjoyed even more success, setting a team record with 28 wins (28-11 overall), capturing the program's first NAIA District 5 title, and advancing to within a game of the NAIA World Series. She batted .365 (42-for-115) with 24 RBI and 30 runs in 38 games, while also setting single season records for hits (42), doubles (eight) and triples (eight).
Matochik wrapped up her record breaking career as a senior in 1986, leading Western New England with a .414 batting average (41-for-99) with 10 triples, 12 doubles, 26 runs scored and 32 RBI as the Golden Bears matched their program record with 28 wins (28-9 overall).
Matochik also played on the Western New England volleyball team for four seasons.
Nicole Poli, a two-sport standout with the women's lacrosse and women's soccer teams from 2007-11, was an All-Region and All-Conference performer for both programs and a two-time Western New England Coca-Cola Female Athlete of the Year (2008-09, 2009-10).
As a defender with the women's lacrosse team, Poli established herself as one of the top players in the CCC as a freshman in 2009, collecting Defensive Player of the Year honors after leading NCAA Division III with 85 caused turnovers in 21 games (4.05 per game). She was also named to the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) All-Berkshire Region second team and the ECAC All-New England first team.
The Medfield, Mass. native didn't slow down from there, earning All-CCC, All-ECAC New England, and IWLCA All-Berkshire Region accolades in each of the next three seasons. As a senior in 2011, Poli was named the ECAC New England Defensive Player of the Year after claiming CCC Defensive Player of the Year honors for the third time. She was a member of teams that went a combined 58-25 (.699) over her four-year career, finishing with 85 points (61 goals, 24 assists), 309 caused turnovers, 295 ground balls and 153 draw controls in 79 games (78 starts).
Also a defender for the women's soccer team, Poli was a three-time All-CCC second team selection, garnering New England Women's Intercollegiate Soccer Association (NEWISA) All-New England third team honors as a junior in 2009 and National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-New England second team recognition as a senior in 2010. She started all 85 games that she appeared in over the course of her career, compiling eight points on three goals and two assists.
Scott Thornton, a midfielder with the men's soccer team from 2001-04, is the only three-year captain in the 50-year history of the program. The two-time All-GNAC first team selection, who was elected as the program's youngest captain in history as a sophomore in 2002, finished his career with 51 points on 18 goals and 15 assists.
After earning the Western New England Coaches Award as a freshman, Thornton and the Golden Bears made their second consecutive appearance in the ECAC New England Tournament in 2002. The Bedford, N.H. native broke out as a junior in 2003, tying for the team lead with 12 points (five goals, two assists) on his way to WNE MVP, All-GNAC first team, GNAC All-Tournament team, and GNAC All-Academic honors.
Thornton capped his collegiate career by leading Western New England to its best season in program history in 2004, as the Golden Bears set a program record for wins (going 16-6-1 overall), claiming both the GNAC regular season and tournament titles en route to the team's first ever appearance in the NCAA Division III Championship. Individually, Thornton compiled 16 points (six goals, four assists) and was named to both the All-GNAC first team and the NSCAA/Adidas DIII All-New England team.
Thornton's sister, Kristin Thornton Hensinger '07, a former women's soccer standout and current assistant coach at Western New England, was inducted into the Downes Hall of Fame last fall, making the duo just the second pair of siblings to be enshrined.