Five Judges earn UAA Athlete of the Week honors

Fans at Amherst for the Sweet 16 last year
Fans at Amherst for the Sweet 16 last year

WALTHAM, Mass. - Five Brandeis athletes in three different sports were named University Athletic Association (UAA) Athletes of the Week for Nov. 18, the most the Judges have had in any one week in at least five years.

Juniors Tyler Savonen of Orleans, Mass., and Joe Graffy of Concord N.H., were named Men’s Soccer Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively, for their work in guiding the Judges to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

Senior Amelia Lundkvist of Portland, Maine, finished sixth at the New England Division III Regional Championships helping guide the women’s cross country team to its first NCAA Championship berth since 2001.

Seniors Julian Cardillo of Medford, Mass., and Vikki Nunley of Lebanon, N.J., went a combined 20-2 at the first Northeast Fencing Conference Tournament of the year, guiding the men’s and women’s fencing teams to a pair of first-place finishes.

Savonen had a goal and assisted the game-winner during Saturday’s first-round NCAA Tournament game against Johnson and Wales, then scored the game’s only tally to help Brandeis defeat Roger Williams on Sunday. On Saturday, the junior found classmate Michael Soboff (Framingham, Mass./Newton South) for what proved to be the game-winner just 111 seconds into play. Soboff returned the favor just three minutes later, as Savonen headed home the second goal of a 3-0 Brandeis victory. On Sunday, Savonen planted a cross by senior Ben Applefield (Avon, Conn./Avon) in the upper-left corner of the net for his fourth game-winner of the season. The junior has 12 goals on the season, including at least one in each of his last four games. He leads the UAA in both goals and points.

Graffy earned his third UAA Athlete of the Week honor of the season for not allowing a goal in either NCAA contest. The junior needed to make just one save in the first round and three saves in the second, but was instrumental in organizing a back line that has a 0.89 goals against average this season. The Judges have now gone six-straight games without conceding, and Graffy leads the UAA in shutouts with eight.

The Judges are 16-4-1 in their 41st season under head coach Michael Coven. Brandeis advanced to the Sweet 16 for the second season in a row, and will take on Williams College at Amherst on Saturday at 11 a.m.

As she has all season, Lundkvist led the way for a resurgent women’s cross country squad. The senior finished in sixth place at New England’s, Brandeis’ first top-10 finish at the meet since 2002. Lundkvist’s time of 21:28.85 earned her All-New England honors just two weeks after she was named to the UAA All-Association team for her third-place finish at the conference championships.

The women’s cross country team will compete at the NCAA Division III Championships, which will be held at Hanover College in Indiana on Saturday. Coach John Evans will lead the women as they compete at nationals for the first time since 2001.

Cardillo went 10-2 at the first NFC tournament, pacing a foil squad that had four different fencers with at least seven victories. The senior qualified for the NCAA Championships in both 2011 and 2012 before studying abroad in Rome during spring, 2013. It was his seventh-career UAA Athlete of the Week award.

Nunley was a perfect 10-0, leading a women’s foil team that won at least eight of its nine bouts in all but two head-to-head matchups. Nunley has now won five UAA Athlete of the Week awards.

The fencing squads seem poised for another excellent season under head coach Bill Shipman. The Judges are coming off of a season in which both the men’s and women’s fencing teams were New England champions, and Brandeis returns all three of its fencers that qualified for last season’s NCAA Championships. After just two meets, the Judges have already had four different fencers earn Athlete of the Week honors.

Savonen is a 2011 graduate of Nauset Regional. He is the son of Douglas Robby Savonen, Orleans, Mass.

Graffy is a 2011 graduate of Concord High School. He is the son of Robert Graffy and Paula Hurley, Concord, N.H.

Lundkvist is a 2010 graduate of Cheverus High School. She is the daughter of Haakan Lundkvist and Nena Ragay-Lundkvist, South Portland, Maine.

Cardillo is a 2010 graduate of St. Johns Prep School. He is the son of Antonio and Lucia Cardillo, Medford, Mass.

Nunley is a 2009 graduate of Voorhees High School. She is the daughter of William and Rosalia Nunley, Glen Gardner, N.Y.