Villanova senior Brian Karalunas was selected as the 2011 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award winner in men's lacrosse. The announcement and trophy presentation were made in Baltimore by Lowe's, an official corporate partner of the NCAA®, during the NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship. Karalunas is the first Lowe's Senior CLASS Award Winner in Villanova history. Karalunas was joined on the 2011 All-America First Team by Syracuse goalkeeper John Galloway.
The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I head coaches, national media and fans, is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in NCAA Division I men's lacrosse. 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.
"It is humbling to receive such a prestigious award amongst so many worthy candidates. It's a true honor to be recognized not only for hard work on the field, but also in the classroom and in the community as exemplified by the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award," Karalunas said. "I'm truly thankful for everyone who supported me throughout my college career and helped me reach this point."
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.
"Brian is an excellent example of a student-athlete who makes community service a priority in his life," said David Geren, Lowe's vice president of marketing. "To do the kind of work he's done in the community at the same time as leading a top-ranked lacrosse program is a testament to Brian's leadership skills and his passion for service."
Karalunas has a 3.94 grade point average and has been named to the Dean's List every semester. Among his many academic honors, Karalunas is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. As part of his community service efforts, Karalunas founded the Graterford Maximum Security Prison Restorative Justice Program, an inmate educational program exploring alternatives to the retributive justice system with an emphasis on forgiveness, victim-offender relations and community building. In addition, 2010-2011 American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year is an awards proctor for the Villanova Special Olympics Fall Festival - the largest student-run Special Olympics festival in the United States.
Karalunas finishes his career as the most decorated men's lacrosse student-athlete in program history. He is Villanova's first three-time USILA All-American and the first men's lacrosse player to be named a first team All-America selection. Additionally, the back-to-back BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year has twice been named a First Team All-BIG EAST honoree and was the 2009 CAA Defensive Player of the Year while earning First Team All-CAA accolades during his sophomore season.
On the field, the two-time captain finished his senior season with 74 ground balls and 70 caused turnovers, leading the NCAA averaging 4.38 takeaways per game. He also led in the same category during the 2010 season. For his career, the long-stick midfielder is Villanova's and the NCAA's career leader with 153 caused turnovers and ranks ninth all-time at Villanova with 213 ground balls.
During his four years with the team, Karalunas led the Wildcats to their first two NCAA postseason appearances in program history during the 2009 and 2011 seasons and helped Villanova reach their highest ranking at No. 7 in the USILA Coaches poll in 2011. Last weekend, Karalunas earned his first start in the professional lacrosse ranks with the Long Island Lizards, posting six takeaways in his debut with Major League Lacrosse.
"Brian's best qualities are that he's a leader on the field and off the field. He's got an incredible work ethic and strives to be the best in everything he does, whether it's on the field, in the classroom or in the community," head coach Mike Corrado said. "I can't think of anyone that is more deserving of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, and it's an honor to have been able to coach him and watch him grow throughout the past four years at Villanova."
Galloway recorded 147 saves, a.572 save percentage and broke his own school record with a 6.70 season goals-against average in 2011. He was rewarded by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) with the Ensign C. Markland Kelly Jr. Award as the nation's best goalie for the second consecutive season. He's also the two-time reigning BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year.
Off the field, Galloway is a Capital One Academic All-District selection and he received his bachelor's degree in public relations earlier this month. Galloway has also been a fixture in the community during his career, donating his time to the Salvation Army Christmas Bureau, the Central New York Burn Foundation, Meals on Wheels and other local philanthropic organizations.
For more information on all the finalists, visit seniorCLASSaward.com.
2011 All-America First Team
Kevin Crowley, Midfield, Stony Brook
Ryan Flanagan, Defense, North Carolina
John Galloway, Goalkeeper, Syracuse
Brian Karalunas, Defense/Midfield, Villanova
Jonathan Stumpf, Midfield, Lehigh
2011 All-America Second Team
Stefan Bauer, Attack, Lafayette
Grant Catalino, Attack, Maryland
Johnathan Falcone, Goalkeeper, Yale
Anthony Iannello, Midfield, Bryant
Tom Montelli, Defense, Duke