Lakers football named ECAC Division II Team of the Year

On Monday, Jan. 28, the 2012 Lakers football program was named 2012 Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division II Team of the Year.

This is the second time in three seasons the Lakers have earned such impressive recognition, also receiving the recognition in 2010. The Lakers ended their 2012 season at 9-2 overall, earning them a piece of Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West Champions recognition.

“I am very excited for our team and university. Whenever we receive a team award it is a true reflection of the whole program,” Coach Martin Schaetzle said.

Schaetzle recognizes the leadership and hard work that led to such a successful 2012 season, but knows there is much to work towards in the future.

“Our seniors did an excellent job leading. We grew as a group and improved as a team each week,” said Schaetzle. “We need to continue our growth as a program. With each successful step there is more work needed to sustain success.”

Junior quarterback Anthony Vendemia attributes the Lakers’ successful season to hard work and a team that worked together as a unit.

“If you ask anyone on the team they would say that the reason we won was because we had a complete team, from the biggest guy to the smallest guy on the team,” said Vendemia. “We didn’t have any super stars that took all of the spotlight from the team. We had a group of individuals that put the team first.“
Anthony Vendemia (center) gets ready to take a snap alongside Kevin Poropat (right).: Brian Vail photoAnthony Vendemia (center) gets ready to take a snap alongside Kevin Poropat (right).: Brian Vail photo

On Tuesday, Jan. 22, Vendemia was named a Fall Top Ten Award winner by the PSAC. PSAC Top Ten Awards go to student athletes who start on their respective team and achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or higher during the school year.

“It puts a smile on my face. I’m just happy that I can make my family proud of me,” Vendemia said.

Vendemia is ecstatic for the Lakers being ranked ECAC Division II Team of the Year.

“Anytime we can get recognized as a team, it is very special to us. This award especially. Before the season started the public had low expectations for us, but the thing is, we had very high expectations for ourselves and that’s all that really matters,” said Vendemia. “We worked very hard as a team and treated everyone on the team as if they were family. That is what this award shows to me; that we are a family and we accomplished some very special things together.”

On Tuesday, Jan. 8, senior offensive lineman Kevin Poropat was named to the Don Hansen Super Region One First Team. Freshman Brandon Brown-Dukes, sophomore linebacker Aaron McGee and junior kicker/punter Steven Wakefield were all named to the Don Hansen Super Region One Third Team.

“It is such an honor to be named to the Don Hansen Super Region One First Team, I’m very thankful and could not have done it without my teammates or coaches, so this award isn’t just about me but the whole 2012 team,” Poropat said.

Not unlike Vendemia, Poropat attributes the Lakers’ successful season to hard work.

“We were a real solid team, and we knew that. We didn’t have the superstar players like we did in 2010 and 2011,” said Poropat. “We were just a blue collar, hard working team not only in the games, but during practice and lifting too.”

Poropat can recall the last time the Lakers were ECAC Division II Team of the Year.

“Back in 2010 when I was a sophomore we won this award, and it felt really good to be the ECAC team of the year,” said Poropat. “Now having won it in my senior year, it feels much better knowing the 2012 team went out on a great note for not only the seniors, but the whole team that put all the long hours and hard work into the program.”