D'Agata, Labrecque are Recipients of Prestigious Holly Zimmerman Memorial Award

D'Agata, Labrecque are Recipients of Prestigious Holly Zimmerman Memorial Award

By Mitch Foster / Sports Information Intern

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Eastern Connecticut State University four-year women’s soccer letterwinner Michele D’Agata (West Suffield) and three-year letterwinner Kayla Labrecque (Westhampton, MA) have been named as the 42nd and 43rd recipients of the Holly E. Zimmerman Memorial Award. The presentation of the awards was made February 17, prior to the start of the Little East Conference women’s basketball regular-season home finale at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

Pictured: D'Agata (top), Labrecque

The Zimmerman Award was instituted in 1994 in memory of the late Holly Zimmerman, an Andover native and Physical Education major who attended Eastern from 1989 through 1993. Zimmerman was a member of the women’s basketball program and also served on the student training staff.

Female undergraduates who are junior or senior Health and Physical Education or Sport and Leisure Management majors are eligible for the award. Candidates must have made significant contributions to the Eastern intercollegiate athletic program as either members of an athletic team or as student athletic trainers and have an overall grade-point average of at least 2.70. The candidates must reflect Zimmerman’s qualities of loyalty, thoughtfulness and academic determination.

Head women’s soccer coach Chris  D’Ambrosio reflected on the two award-winners, stating that “both Michele and Kayla are excellent teammates who work extremely hard on the field as well as in the classroom. They both truly embody what it means to be a leader.”

A senior Sport and Leisure Management major with a concentration in Exercise Science, D’Agata has excelled both in the classroom and on the field for four years. She has been on the Dean’s List every semester as well as being a member of the Little East Conference All-Academic Team in all three years of eligibility and has earned an E-Club Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award in both years of eligibility. On the field, D’Ambrosio noted that his four-year starter at midfield and back was a great leader who led by example with her great work ethic and was willing to take the time to work with younger teammates and use her experience as an upperclassman to help them as both athletes and as students.

D’Agata will graduate in May and will continue her education at the University of Delaware to study Exercise Physiology, and eventually earn a doctorate and pursue a career in research.  “Michele simply does whatever it takes to complete a task and complete it well. She truly is committed to excellence in everything she does,” noted her professor, Dr. Daniel B. Switchenko.

As a Health and Physical Education major, Labrecque has excelled academically, reaching Dean’s List status each year, winning the maximum two Little East All-Academic awards and one E-Club Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award.

According to D’Ambrosio, Labrecque is willing to do whatever it takes to help the team as the squad’s starting goalie. D’Ambrosio added that Labrecque is a hardworking positive person who has played an intregal part in the soccer team’s success during her three-year career.

Labrecque is a member of the KPE-Sport Management Club and has excelled in several of the toughest courses at Eastern; among those in exercise physiology and anatomy. Switchenko reflected on Labrecque’s academic prowess, pointing out that “she has always exhibited an intellectual curiosity. She possesses an ability to reason, think critically, solve qualitative and quantitative problems and apply classroom concepts to a professional setting.”

Labrecque plans to teach physical education and pursue her Master’s Degree upon graduation in 2019.


A committee comprised of faculty, athletic administrators, coaches, and student-athletes selected D’Agata and Labrecque from among a distinguished list of candidates. It marked the third consecutive year that the Zimmerman recipients were selected from the women’s soccer program, following Rachel Berkowsky in 2017 and Maggie Sayers in 2016.  


2018:     Michele N. D’Agata
2018:     Kayla R. Labrecque

2017:     Rachel S. Berkowsky

2016:     Margaret E. Sayers

2015:     Erin C. Miller

2015:     Victoria A. Pfohl

2015:     Jill A. Ritrosky

2014:     Morgan T. Charlow

2014:     Taylor R. McBride

2013:     Brittany A. Garnelis

2013:     Stephanie L. Johnson

2013:     Julie E. Pietrycha

2012:     Mackenzie A. MacLeod

2012:     Katherine A. Sokoloski

2011:     Stephanie J. Noheimer

2010:     Stephanie K. Norell

2010:     Brittany N. Whiteley

2009:     Ashley N. McFetridge

2008:     Christina I. Amato

2008:     Amy E. Lampe

2007:     Colleen Devine

2007:     Bridget A. Durette

2007:     Kristen L. Fallo

2006:     Lindsey A. Karsmarski

2006:     Jennifer C. Orme

2006:     Laura E. Tignonsini

2005:     Lauren A. Proniewych                                                       

2005:     Megan A. Williamson

2004:     Rachel M. Albino               

2004:     Erika M. Blozie                   

2004:     Shari L. D’Amico                

2003:     Danielle G. Olivier                               

2002:     Robyn L. Danahy                              

2001:     Julia Neilson                                        

2000:     Amy E. Larkin                    

2000:     Melanie L. McIlmail          

1999:     Cynthia P. Baker

1999: Anne E. DiFranco

1998: Cheryl J. Odierna

1998: Sara L. Suitor           

1995: Cynthia L. Claffey

1995: Jana E. Galloway

1994: Jennifer B. Flyntz