Soccer Standouts Named Lowe's Senior CLASS Award Candidates

Aug. 18, 2010

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - For the second consecutive year, a student-athlete from both the men's and women's soccer teams at Loyola University Maryland have been named candidates for the 2010 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.

Seniors Lina Staropoli (Raritan, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan H.S.) and Phil Bannister (Wallsend, England/Monkseaton Academy) will represent Loyola in running for the award.

Loyola is one of only five schools nationally to have both a men's and women's soccer player named as one of the 30 candidates in each sport, joining Monmouth, Notre Dame, Penn State and Stanford.

Last year, Tennant McVea and Theresa Ferraina were selected as candidates for the award and each reached the finalist stage.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.

Staropoli has started every game for the women's soccer team since coming to Loyola in 2007. A team captain this season, Staropoli was an All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference First Team honoree in 2009 and a MAAC All-Rookie Team selection in 2007.

"Lina is the true essence of what a student-athlete is," Loyola Head Women's Soccer Coach Katherine Vettori said. "She is a four-year starter and she also excels as an elementary education major in the classroom. Lina dedicates herself to everything that she sets out to accomplish."

On Tuesday, Staropoli was named to the 2010 Preseason All-MAAC Team as Loyola was selected by the conference's coaches as the team to beat in the league. Last year, she scored a goal and had two assists from her position in the defensive midfield, as she helped the Greyhounds go undefeated in MAAC play and reach the NCAA College Cup.

Staropoli has scored six goals and assisted on 15 others during her Loyola career. Her 15 assists are tied for sixth all-time in the program's history.

Off the field, Staropoli has been a model student-athlete for the Greyhounds. She has maintained a 3.81 grade point average as an elementary education major and has been a member of the University's dean's list all six semesters of her time at Loyola.

In 2009, Staropoli was named to the NSCAA Academic All-Region Team and was an ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-District II Second Team member. She was a MAAC All-Academic honoree in 2008 and 2009.

Staropoli has been very involved in community service activities at Loyola, helping organize a Relay For Life event at the school, and she is also Vice President of Student Council for Exceptional Children, a campus organization that serves children with special needs. She has also volunteered for Special Olympics and is a member of Kappa Delta Pi, the international education honor society.

Bannister enjoyed a stellar 2009 season, scoring four goals and 13 assists for 21 points en route to earning ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All -District II First Team honors, as well as receiving spots on the All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Second Team, MAAC All-Academic Team and MAAC Tournament team. Bannister will serve as a co-captain for the Greyhounds this year.

Phil Bannister

Bannister led the MAAC in assists last season and tied for third in points, helping Loyola win the MAAC Tournament and reaching its 16th College Cup with the MAAC's most productive offense. Bannister is the lone men's soccer candidate for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

The senior forward enters the 2010 season sitting 13th on Loyola's career scoring list with 67 points. Bannister is also tied for third in career assists in the Greyhound record books with 28, needing just one to tie the record and two to break it. He also ranks 15th in career goals with 30.

In addition to his on-field accomplishments, Bannister has received several academic laurels, as well. He is a two-time MAAC All-Academic Team honoree and was a 2008 ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-American. Last season, he earned NSCAA Academic All-Region honors.

Bannister has been involved in community service efforts on the Loyola campus, including outreach to homeless men and women at Beans and Bread, an area shelter. He has also helped shovel neighborhood residents out after large snowstorms in the Baltimore region.

Each of the 30 candidate classes will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one male candidate and one female candidate who best exemplify excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.

Staropoli and the women's soccer team open their 2010 season on Saturday, August 21, when they host Towson at 7 p.m. on Awalt Field at Ridley Athletic Complex. Bannister and the men start their 2010 campaign on Tuesday, September 1, in Buies Creek, N.C., at Campbell.