Providence, R.I. – The defending Ivy League Champion Brown men’s lacrosse team, coming off a season that returned the Bears to national prominence with an NCAA Tournament appearance, announced its 2015 team awards and named its 2016 captains at its annual awards banquet, held at the Flatbread Company. Brown seniors Kylor Bellistri (Potomac, MD), Brendan Caputo (Westbury, NY) and Jack Kelly (West Islip, NY) were named captains of the 2016 Brown lacrosse team.
“Brown Lacrosse demands every man to step up and serve as a leader, but only three men have been identified as the ultimate ambassadors of our program,” said head coach Lars Tiffany. “We are fortunate to be led by Kylor Bellistri ’16, Brendan Caputo ’16 and, for a second year, Jack Kelly ’16. This threesome represents an impactful class that have all been agents of change for our program since they arrived at Brown in the fall of 2012: they took ownership of this program even as freshmen. Their unrelenting competitiveness, commitment and emotional investment into Brown Lacrosse have been clearly evident right from day one.”
“A heavy responsibility rests on the shoulders of Kylor, Brendan and Jack. Serving as a captain requires each of them to always place the program’s best interests ahead of their own, to be a role model, to provide a supporting shoulder for the rest of us and to do what is right and not necessarily popular. Kylor, Brendan and Jack complement each other well, with their collective strengths combining to cover the demands of their roles. These three really understand how we do things around here.”
Bellistri is one of the nation’s top attackmen after scoring 35 goals, while adding seven assists in 2015. He scored four goals vs. Michigan and netted three goals five times, in games against UMass, Bucknell, Penn, Providence and Dartmouth.
“We are all excited for the upcoming season,” said Bellistri. “Everyone in the locker room is pushing themselves harder each and every day to get better. We are working to make Brown the best program in the country.”
An All-New England selection in the midfield, Caputo registered 26 goals and 12 assists for 38 points in 2015. He posted three hat-tricks last season, netting three goals against Hartford, Princeton and Yale. He also picked up 21 ground balls and caused seven turnovers.
“I am grateful for the honor and privilege to co-captain Brown Men’s Lacrosse,” said Caputo. “We have a dedicated, and talented group of men this year; and as Malcolm Gladwell points to in ‘Outliers,’ we will strive to focus and perfect that talent through intensive practice, and support it with a committed work ethic. We will not give up until we reach the goals we set for ourselves in the Ivy League and NCAA. Go Bears!”
A USILA honorable mention All-American and unanimous first team All-Ivy selection, Kelly led the Ivy League and ranked 11th nationally in saves per game (11.53), while his save percentage of .554 led the Ivy League and was 14th nationally. He was named the NCAA Defensive Player of the Week, the Lacrosse Magazine Player of the Week and the Ivy League Player of the Week after coming up with 21 spectacular saves in Brown’s 15-6 win over #10 Cornell. A First Team All-New England selection, Kelly made 14 first half saves against the Big Red and held Cornell to just two second half goals, while making seven saves.
“It is a great honor to be voted team captain by the men of Brown Lacrosse,” said Kelly. “The captains and seniors will continue to push this team to strive for greatness everyday both on and off the playing field. I look forward to serving as team captain with Brendan and Kylor as we look to take the next steps as a program both in the Ivy League and NCAA.”
Most Valuable Offensive Player
The Most Valuable Offensive Player award goes to a man who is the consummate team player. This is the man you want next to you on your line! Points alone can define his impact, as he had 24 assists in 2015. But his impact to the team goes well beyond the stat line. With each practice and game, this man was all-in, mentally and emotionally. He loves to compete everyday, contesting both his teammates during the week and the opposition on game-day. The intelligence he has for the game is clearly evident: the vision and craftiness he possesses allows him to be an ideal initiator on the offensive end of the field. His career will be continued at Syracuse this upcoming season, and we will be able to see first-hand how he is making the Orange better on February 6th. The 2015 winner of the Most Valuable Offensive Player is Business, Entrepreneurship and Organizations concentrator Nick Piroli ‘15.
Vincent Marinelli Award
The Vincent Marinelli Award is an annual freshman award, distributed to the “pup” who best exemplifies the competitive spirit and commitment to the quality of life that Vinnie himself demonstrated as a freshman at Brown in 1987. This year’s winner made an array of impressions on the entire program in his first year. Rarely seen outside of the new locker room, there was never a doubt that this freshman was completely invested in the program and his personal development as a defenseman. His numbers in the weight room started paltry but soon rose. The footwork and comprehension of the team defense began to improve. By the Spring, this man was a heavily relied upon long-stick midfielder who gave us a weapon in transition. He has a nose for the ball, and a knack for getting open around the crease. He finished with four goals and four assists, including a critical momentum goal in the fourth quarter versus Harvard. This year’s winner of the Vincent Marinelli Award goes to Jake Miller ‘18.
The Charles Kenney ’10 Alumni Award
Presented annually to the lacrosse player who, through sportsmanship, performance and influence, contributed the most to the sport at Brown, the Charlie Kenney Alumni Award honors two men for their indomitable character and the traits they brought forth that were critical for our program’s success in 2015. Charlie Kenney ’10, a four-year midfielder and team captain his senior year, embodied the greatest of qualities we all search for in our men: all-in commitment, joyful spirit of life and always, always looking out for his teammates. After graduation, Charlie went on to become a First Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps before passing away in August of 2012. This year’s Charlie Kenney Alumni Award winners were also captains like Charlie. Similar to Charlie, both men seem rarely phased by anything, to never be rattled. They led by example on the field as well. While many offensive players can fall into streaks, the offensive captain became a dependable threat – always there for us to provide an aggressive dodge from the midfield and scoring at the most critical of times, including four goals in the two playoff games. The defensive captain was more than just the vocal leader of the defense: his emotional strength and positive spirit served to provide stability and confidence for the rest of us. This year’s winners of the Charlie Kenney Alumni Award are International Relations concentrator Tim Jacob ’15, and Business, Entrepreneurship and Organizations concentrator Will Swindell ‘15.
The Dom Starsia Coaches Award
The Dom Starsia Coaches Award is given by the coaching staff to the player who best represents the spirit of Brown lacrosse year in and year out. Thinking of the description “spirit of Brown lacrosse” brings to mind several great men of this program, but there is one who best characterizes the true traits of Brown Lacrosse. What are these “True Traits?”: the joy of fierce competition, the endless pursuit of physical and technical greatness, and a love of teammates. This year’s winner is the heart of Brown Lacrosse. His devotion, commitment and loyalty to Brown University and our Lacrosse program are the greatest. While his outstanding play does come close to matching the mental sharpness and boldness he exudes, it is the intensity and energy he brings to each practice and game… always…. that makes him our leader. There has never been any question on how much the rest of us feed off of his fortitude and drive for greatness. The rest of the country is also starting to take notice of the critical role he plays for us: our goalie was named to both the All-American and First Team All-Ivy teams in 2015. The Dom Starsia Coaches’ Award recipient goes to Business, Entrepreneurship and Organizations concentrator Jack Kelly ‘16.
Most Valuable Defensive Player
The 2015 Defensive MVPs are no longer unknowns. Both of these men earned playing time during their first year at Brown, one a little sooner than the other. Since then, neither has looked back. Both became the most relied upon long-sticks in the program this past year as sophomores. We assigned them to defend the opponent’s top threats and they did much of the risk-taking all over the field. Taking a vast majority of faceoff wings, the “two-pole faceoff” became our bread and butter in 2015. Together, 160 ground balls made it into their sticks. With sophisticated stick skills and uncanny awareness for each other, the two initiated a majority of our transition game. At times, the two of them spent more time on the offensive half of the field than defending our own goal. But each proved they could be dangerous and effective with both shooting and feeding, scoring a combined 28 points on 13 goals and 15 assists. One earned 2nd Team All-American honors, while both earned 2nd Team All-Ivy and 1st Team All-New England awards. Remarkably, both achieved all of this while battling injuries that required surgery at season’s end. Brown’s Most Valuable Defensive Players are Business, Entrepreneurship and Organizations concentrator Larken Kemp ‘17 and Pre-Med and Biology concentrator Alec Tulett ‘17.
Jim Tepper Award
Established in 1991, this award is given in honor of Jimmy Tepper to the most improved player of the program. This year’s recipient had a disappointing start to his career due to a significant injury and then needing some time to establish himself due to the presence of stiff competition at his position. Despite such obstacles, he did make a major statement in 2015, as he became our number one faceoff specialist. Brown Lacrosse’s recent history is not one that includes tremendous success at the faceoff X. This man helped change that trend in 2015. Taking nearly 400 draws, he won at a rate over 59%. And he did this against a schedule that presented some of the best faceoff men in the nation, including a stretch at the end of the season that saw him hold his own against the #1, #4, #7 and #9 ranked specialists in the nation. Increasing the number of opportunities for our offense, his work had a major impact on the increase in goal production experienced this past season. He contributed to the scoring column as well, finding the net six times and adding two assists. This year’s winner of the Jimmy Tepper Most Improved Player award is Business, Entrepreneurship and Organizations concentrator Will Gural ‘16.
The Richard Q. Whelan Jr, Unsung Hero Award
Re-named in 2005, the award is given in memory to the Brown lacrosse player who best exemplifies Ricky’s unselfish play, dedication to the program and overall commitment to excellence. This year’s winner definitively matches such qualities. His story is one that clearly paints a picture of an athlete that would not be outworked. Commitment to schemes, scouting reports and the weight room accurately describe the man’s preparation for all things Brown Lacrosse. On the roads and hills of Providence the past several years, there was really never a doubt of who that man way out in front was. A dependable defensive midfielder his entire four years at Brown, this man did something no other Brown Lacrosse player has done in 20 years since David Evans ‘96: play in all 60 games of his career. And after his attempt to play offense was shot down and several scoring plays were negated by time outs by the head coach, he emerged as a threat in transition his senior year, scoring two goals and adding four assists. A dedicated worker off the field as well, he earned Academic All-American honors and co-founded the Biotechnology Investment Club at Brown with Jordan Schochet. The 2015 Ricky Whelan Unsung Hero Award goes to Biology concentrator Nick Weeden ‘15.
The Cliff Stevenson Award
Presented annually to the most valuable player of the Brown Lacrosse team in honor of long-time Brown lacrosse and soccer coach Cliff Stevenson, this year’s winner exploded onto the national lacrosse scene with his superb play that spearheaded our first NCAA Tournament appearance in six years. This attackman has quickly become known for his hard charging and shoot first mentality. He scored eight goals in a game not once, but twice. Many opponents designed defenses to deny him his shots, which further helped other Brown offensive players step up and score goals. He now has 91 career goals and 131 points overall in two years. The accolades poured in at season’s end, including co-Ivy Player of the Year, Third Team All-American, New England Player of the Year and First Team ECAC All-Star. But what the coaching staff and his teammates really appreciate about this man is his positive, unselfish attitude in our workouts. No practice occurs without him truly having fun and making comments that bring smiles to others. The Cliff Stevenson MVP Award is awarded to Business, Entrepreneurship and Organizations concentrator Dylan Molloy ’17.