Soccer standout Autumn Sorice of Western Connecticut State University and baseball All-American Alex Zachary of Eastern Connecticut State University have been named 2017 Athletes of the Year by the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance.
Sorice, of Bethel, capped an impressive senior season by being named to the 2017 United Soccer Coaches All-America second team, and the USC All-New England first team.
Sorice was named the Little East Conference Player of the Year for the third consecutive year in the fall of 2017 after leading the conference in goals with 16, assists with nine, and points with 41. She led Western Connecticut to the LEC regular-season and tournament championships, and was named the LEC tournament MVP after scoring both goals in a 2-1, double-overtime victory over rival Eastern Connecticut in the championship match.
She is only the fifth Western Connecticut women’s soccer player to earn Division III All-America honors. She finished her career at Western among the school’s all-time leaders in most offensive categories. She ranks second in career points (143) and career goals (56), tied for second in career assists (31) and fourth in career game-winning goals (18). Her 62 points and 25 goals in 2016 are single-season school records.
As a senior at Bethel High School in the fall of 2011, Sorice helped lead the Wildcats to the Class L state semifinals.
Zachary, an Enfield native and 2013 graduate of Enrico Fermi High School, was selected for the Division III All-America first team in 2017, after making the third team the previous season. He was the New England Player of the Year and Little East Conference Player of the Year, batting .404 in 37 games with 42 runs scored, 61 hits, 9 home runs and 25 stolen bases in 29 attempts. He had 19 multiple-hit games, and reached base in all but one contest.
After closing the 2016 season with a 20-game hitting streak, Zachary opened the 2017 campaign by hitting safely in his first 15 outings, giving him a school-record 35-game hitting streak. In two years with the Warriors, he batted .388 with 120 hits, 19 home runs, 78 runs batted in, 36 stolen bases and a .686 slugging percentage.
Sorice and Zachary will be honored at the 77th annual Gold Key Dinner at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington on Sunday, April 29, 2018. Gold Key Award recipients will be PGA golf professional Dennis Coscina, former Granby Memorial High School field hockey coach Dot Johnson, New Canaan High School football coach Lou Marinelli, newly-retired UConn women’s soccer coach Len Tsantiris and Olympic ice hockey gold medalist Gretchen Ulion-Silverman.
Tickets to the Gold Key Dinner are $75 apiece, and may be reserved by contacting CSWA President Tim Jensen of Patch Media Corp. at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-394-5091, or Vice President Rich Gregory of the Danbury News-Times at email@example.com or 203-705-8625.
Proceeds from the event benefit the Bo Kolinsky Journalism Scholarship, named after a longtime Hartford Courant sportswriter and past CSWA president who died unexpectedly in 2003.
Other award recipients, including high school athletes and coaches of the year, will announced in the coming days.
Photo credits: Sorice -- Western Connecticut State University Athletics; Zachary -- Eastern Connecticut State University Athletics