LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. - Siena soccer captain Kristen Connors from the women's team and David Itoafa from the men's squad have been selected as Siena College's Leo Dufort Student Athletes of the Month for September. The pair is being honored for their success both on the soccer field and in the classroom.
"Kristen has been a standout member of the Siena community," said women's soccer head coach Steve Karbowski. "She balances success in the classroom with being a senior captain and leader of the soccer team. Kristen can always be counted on to handle her responsibility as a student-athlete in a quality manner. She is one of the most reliable and conscientious people to come through the program."
A native of Clifton Park, New York, Connors has appeared in 67 career matches, making 55 starts while helping to lead Siena to 37 victories. She has totaled 17 points on five goals and seven assists. Last season, she was named to the MAAC All-Tournament Team after scoring twice in the Championship Match victory that gave the Saints the program's second title and NCAA Tournament Appearance. Siena went on a seven-match unbeaten streak - including their final four regular season matches simply in order to qualify for the tournament - and then defeated each of the top-three seeds to win the MAAC Championship.
In the classroom Connors boasts a 3.47 cumulative GPA as a psychology major, while minoring in health studies. She has been named to both the MAAC All-Academic Team and Academic Honor Roll in each year of eligibility. Connors has logged more than three dozen hours in occupational therapy, her intended major. As part of Siena College's e-NABLE Chapter, Connors was one of eight students who created a "Frozen" themed prosthetic arm for local nine-year old girl which became national news. With her strong classroom performance, Siena's women's soccer program received an NSCAA Team Academic Award last fall for posting a cumulative GPA of 3.42.
"David continued, in September what he has been doing his whole Siena career," noted Siena men's soccer head coach Cesar Markovic. "He has great ability to create scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates sometimes out of nothing. He is a great team player and a great person."
A midfielder from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Itoafa has appeared in 73 career matches, making 47 starts. He has tallied 24 points on eight goals and eight assists, and also netted two game-winning goals. Itoafa has been a key cog throughout four years for a Siena Soccer program which to date has won 31 matches during his tenure, including the second most wins in program history his sophomore season, and leading the team to two wins in a MAAC Tournament for the first time ever last season.
Itoafa holds an impressive 3.51 cumulative GPA while majoring in finance. The Canadian native who immigrated from Romania is fluent in three languages (English, French and Romanian) has been named to the MAAC All-Academic Team and Academic HOnor Roll in each year of eligibility as well as Siena College's Dean's List. He completed a summer internship this past summer with the SGV Marketing in Manhattan and has worked for the Siena College Research Institute for each of the past two years.
The Leo Dufort Student Athlete of the Month Award is presented nine times annually (September-May) throughout the academic year. The award recognizes exemplary achievements in both academics and athletics. The late Leo Dufort received a B.S. in marketing and management from Siena in August of 1977. His entire academic career was completed on a part-time basis beginning in the spring of 1961, as a married adult while at the same time raising five children. He passed away suddenly of a heart attack while cross country skiing in February of 1993. His wife Jeanine wanted to do something to immortalize his memory. The original plaque was donated to athletics and the department began the Leo Dufort Student Athlete of the Month Award to help carry out his legacy. Dufort graduated from Catholic Central High School in 1954, was a Navy Veteran (USS Bennington) who worked for JL Hammett Co. at the time of his death.