By Adam Hallenbeck & Taylor Viles – Sports Editor & 1851 Staff
On Friday, Oct. 18, around 200 guests gathered at Braeburn Country Club in New- ton to honor a historic team and five alum student athletes who planted their mark in Lasell athletics. The formal event was the second Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony that Lasell has held in school history, as the first one took place in 2017.
Among the athletes were Lasell alumni Mark DeMieri, Mike Skelton, Tia Pratt, Ashley Slattery and several athletes representing the 2001-2002 men’s basketball team. The eve- ning began just before 6 p.m. as the athletes of the hour and their families filtered into the venue and caught up with old classmates and teammates before the festivities started.
In only the program’s fourth year as a varsity sport, the 2001-2002 men’s basketball team had an outstanding year, setting the standard for future Laser squads to follow. The team, led by second-year Head Coach Chris Harvey, dominated opponents winning 21 out of 28 games overall and remaining un- defeated in conference play (8-0). They be- came the first Lasell team to play in the NCAA tournament for any sport and, although an unfortunate two-point loss in the first round had them go home early, the success that they found that season was remarkable.
With a high scoring offense led by senior Dwayne Okantey (17.4 PPG) and junior Vincent Johnson who made 52 three- pointers, the Laser’s placed 12th in the NCAA for scoring (85.3 PPG).
Mark DeMieri (‘13) was an All Region selection and a two-time All Pilgrim League selected men’s lacrosse goalie. DeMieri owns the school records for goals-against average in a season (6.59, 2008), and saves in a game (30), season (260) and career (916), the latter of which ranks eighth in NCAA Division III history. His first-year season, DeMieri posted a Division III leading .682 save percentage, earning him Rookie of the Year honors. In 2008, he led the Pilgrim League in goals against average (6.59) and save percentage (.695), which ranked second and eighth in the nation, respectively. After he led all NCAA Division III goalies in 2005, DeMieri was eighth nationally in save percentage in 2006 (.648) for his sophomore season.
“I think it was dedication to my craft, I put a lot of work in on the side…being surrounded by really great teammates and a school that supported me,” said Demieri.
Mike Skelton (‘13) dominated Taylor Field during his soccer career at Lasell. Skelton owns the school records for goals and points in a season and career, finishing with 55 goals and 126 points. He was a four-time GNAC selection, a two-time GNAC Player of the Year/ All-New England First Team pick, and a Third Team All-American in his senior season.
“I think the reason I was so successful was because our team was so…successful. I was surrounded by a lot of players who played at a high level,” said Skelton.
He helped lead his team to a combined 51-20-9 overall record in his four seasons, including a 27-6-1 mark against GNAC opponents. He led the team to a program-best 17- 4-2 mark as a senior, including a 10-game un- beaten streak before falling to Springfield in the ECAC New England Championship game
“It’s nice to get individual things but…everything that I did, I wouldn’t have been able to do alone…it’s nice to see some of the guys I used to play with,” said Skelton.
Tia Pratt (‘11) played field hockey for the Lasers and started all four years of her col- lege career. As a first-year, she took home not only the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Rookie of the Year but she was also picked for All-Conference Second Team, an honor she was chosen for the following season as well. In her final two years, she received All-Conference First Team honors.
“This is huge for me, I wasn’t a recruit…I came on as a walk-on and I tried so hard…I just wanted to be on the team… I was very strongly committed to the team…it just means a lot to be recognized for so much work,” said Pratt.
Pratt finished her career scoring 28 goals, which is good for fourth all-time on Lasell’s scoring list, and 23 assists. The latter is a stat that held the school’s record for seven years until 2017. Her 79 career points are good for third-most in school history.
Ashlee Slateree (‘13) was a dominant women’s lacrosse player, one of the most decorated in the program’s history. She cleaned house in her time in the GNAC, hav- ing a GNAC Rookie of the Year honor and Second Team selection in her first year and three First Team selections in her last three years. She holds the school career records for ground balls, draw controls, and caused turnovers. Slateree also ranks second all- time in assists and third all-time in goals for Lasell. In single-season records, she ranks first in assists and top four for both goals and points in a single season.
Jose Guitian (‘09) is an alum basketball player that was recently admitted into the GNAC Hall of Fame class of 2019, being a part of the third ever class into the GNAC Hall of Fame. The hall began in 2010 and had an induction class in 2012, but this summer was the first-ever dinner to celebrate the event. Guitian finished his Laser career as one of the school’s most deco- rated athletes, being the program’s all-time leading scorer with 1,911 points and lead- ing rebounder with 1153 boards. He also holds the record for most blocks with 187 spread out through his career.
Cait Connolly (‘05) played field hockey and basketball for Regis from 2001 to 2004. After graduating from Regis, Connolly transitioned to coaching and landed the position of head coach for Lasell’s women’s field hockey and lacrosse teams.
“[Connolly] had a very successful playing career which brings credibility to [her as] a coach,” said Kristy Walters, athletic director for Lasell.
Connolly holds both the career points record for the Pride’s field hockey program with 74 and the season points record with 26. She finished her basketball career with 1,229 career points and 836 career re- bounds which is good for seventh place in all-time scoring for the Pride.
As head coach of lacrosse, she has a combined record of 114-50 in her nine seasons. Her teams won the GNAC Championship in both 2013 and 2016 securing themselves a spot in the NCAA Division III tournament.
Connolly guided the field hockey team to its best season record with a 16-4 overall record and an undefeated 7-0 in the conference. That season, she won the 2017 GNAC Coach of the Year, an award which she also took home two years earlier.