After a season of many accomplishments by FCIAC teams, it is time to select the two athletes you think were the most outstanding during the past 10 weeks.
All season we have been honoring the BlueStreak-Overtime FCIAC Players of the Week. Now, for the third straight season, we have decided to honor two players as the BlueStreak-Overtime FCIAC Male and Female Fall Players of the Year. The two winners will receive trophies from BlueStreak Sports Training and quarter-zip sweatshirts from The Stamford Advocate.
And unlike the regular season, when BlueStreak picked the winners, you will be able to vote for the two people you believe are most deserving.
We were going to have five male and five female finalists, but due to the number of outstanding candidates nominated we have expanded the field to six each. We are very pleased that we have eight of the 19 league members represented, in six different sports.
Here are the male finalists and their accomplishments:
SEAN GALLAGHER: STAPLES SOCCER: Gallagher, the Wreckers’ center back, was an integral part of a team that won the FCIAC championship and reached the state title game. Gallagher was the team’s shut-down defender. When he was injured at the start of the season, the Wreckers opened 1-2. When he returned, the team went 19-1-1.
KEVIN MACARI, NEW CANAAN FOOTBALL: Macari was an explosive two-way player for a New Canaan team that took a 9-1 record into the state playoffs. He had 36 receptions for 762 yards and 12 touchdowns, an average of 22 yards and two touchdowns on punt returns, and returned two of his three interceptions for scores.
ANDRES TORRES: NORWALK SOCCER: Torres led the FCIAC in scoring with 27 goals and three assists as the Bears clinched the top seed in the FCIAC Tournament. He finished as the second-leading scorer in school history.
JOE DELLA VECCHIA, ST. JOSEPH FOOTBALL: Della Vecchia keyed the Cadets to a 7-3 record and berth in the state tournament. He completed 133 of 212 passes for 2,337 yards and 27 touchdowns. He has also rushed for 522 yards and four scores.
RORY SHEPARD, NEW CANAAN SOCCER: Shepard was named the most valuable player as the Rams made a surprising run as the 19th seed to the CIAC Class L championship. Slowed by an injury, Shepard played in just 14 games yet finished with 12 goals and eight assists.
TYLER JACOBS, STAPLES FOOTBALL: Jacobs was one of the league’s most versatile performers for a Staples team that was 9-1 heading into the state playoffs. He rushed for 915 yards and 11 touchdowns, returned two punts for touchdowns and had seven interceptions, one he returned for a score.
Here are the female finalists and their accomplishments:
KIRSTEN ERIKSEN: WESTHILL SOCCER: Eriksen finished with four goals and six assists, but her greatest value was as a field general for the Vikings as they reached the final game of both the FCIAC and CIAC Class LL Tournaments. Eriksen helped spark Westhill to a 13-1-2 finish before the state final.
MACKENZIE BEGLEY, DARIEN VOLLEYBALL: Begley had another outstanding year as setter and floor leader for a Darien team that went 24-1, won the FCIAC title and reached the state final. She finished with 607 assists, 280 service points, 75 aces, 196 digs, 28 kills and six blocks.
CAROLINE EDISON, FAIRFIELD WARDE CROSS COUNTRY: Edison came on strong during the postseason to finish second in the FCIAC championship and first in the CIAC Class L championship. She also came in 10th at the State Open and ninth at the New England championship, as well as a fourth-place finish at the New Balance Invitational.
ELLIE RIEGEL: DARIEN FIELD HOCKEY: Riegel, a midfielder and defender, was a big reason the Blue Wave were the most dominant team in the sport in the state, going unbeaten with league and state titles. Riegel led Darien with 20 goals and 18 assists. She had two goals, including the game-winner, in the state final.
SHANNON COLLIGAN, GREENWICH SOCCER: Colligan was the player opponents made the focus of their game plans as the leading scorer for a Greenwich team that won its second conference championship in school history. Colligan, a dynamic finisher, ended up with 19 goals and 11 assists.
MADDIE RUSCH, NEW CANAAN SWIMMING: Rusch did not lose an individual race, competing in six different events, during the dual meet season. She won the 50 free and was part of two winning relays as the Rams won the FCIAC title for the first time in 13 years. She won the 50 free in a meet-record time, anchored two winning relay teams — one in a meet-record time — and was third in the 500 free as New Canaan won the Class L title. Rusch anchored the winning medley relay team, was second in the 50 free and anchored a second-place 200 free relay team as the Rams finished second at the State Open.
So there are your 12 candidates. You are allowed to vote for one male and one female. The voting will continue until noon on Monday, when we will announce the winners.