New Conference, New Heights


ith Monmouth’s first year in the Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) complete, one thing is clear: The move to the new conference was a game-changer, showcasing the University on a larger scale and raising the bar for our athletics programs.

The impact that joining the CAA had on extending Monmouth’s brand can be seen in the surge in television viewership. In the year before joining the conference, the Hawks appeared once on linear TV. During its inaugural CAA season, Monmouth made 52 appearances on linear TV in such key markets as New England, Long Island, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Delaware, and Virginia.

“The exposure that brings to the incredible work that happens at Monmouth is important as we increasingly recruit students from farther afield,” President Patrick F. Leahy said.

Joining the CAA meant that Monmouth would face elevated competition, and the Hawks rose to the challenge. On top of several titles for the women’s teams, numerous student-athletes and coaches garnered top conference honors for their accomplishments on and off the field. Here’s a look at some of the highlights.

Women’s Basketball Makes CAA History

The women’s basketball team etched its name into CAA record books with an unforgettable season that culminated in the program’s first NCAA Tournament bid in 40 years. The Hawks punched their ticket to the Big Dance with a thrilling run in the CAA Championship Tournament, winning four consecutive games including victories over the top three seeds: No. 2 Drexel, No. 3 Northeastern, and No. 1 Towson. That magical run made Monmouth the first No. 7 seed, and the lowest seed ever, to win the CAA women’s basketball title.
A’Liah Moore, wearing a jersey, shorts, cleats and a sock labeled CAPTIAN, pictured in mid kick during a soccer match
A’Liah Moore

A Historic First for Women’s Soccer

The women’s soccer team captured Monmouth’s first CAA Regular Season Title in any sport, and in the process became the first team in CAA history to finish atop the standings in their first year in the league. The Hawks’ successful campaign was underscored by Jesi Rossman being named the CAA Defensive Player of the Year and Head Coach Kylee Flynn ’21M being selected as one of the conference’s Co-Coaches of the Year.
close view of forward Annick van Lange leading the offense down the field during a Monmouth Women's field hockey match against Wagner
Annick Van Lange

Field Hockey Wins Regular Season Title

The Hawks posted an impressive 5-1 conference record (10-7 overall) en route to earning the CAA Regular Season Title. Head Coach Carli Figlio was named the conference’s Coach of the Year while forward Annick van Lange was named CAA Offensive Player of the Year after leading the conference in goals, points, and game-winning goals. Goalie Phileine Hazen took home CAA Rookie of the Year honors after starting all 17 contests and leading the CAA in saves.
the Monmouth Women's Rowing team out on the water
Women’s rowing

Rowing Shines in Inaugural Season

Last fall marked the debut of women’s rowing at Monmouth, and the University’s 24th Division I sport hit the water in historic fashion, winning the program’s first medals in its second competition. The program’s successful first season was capped by captain Marissa McKenzie’s selection to the 2023 All-CAA Rowing Team.

Monmouth Women Lead the Way in Academic Excellence

Four Hawks programs—field hockey, women’s golf, women’s rowing, and women’s tennis—earned 2022–23 CAA Team Academic Excellence Awards, which recognize the institution with the highest collective grade point average in all 22 sports sponsored by the CAA. Out of 11 different CAA schools represented on the list, Monmouth led the way with four awards, with each Hawks team finishing with a GPA of 3.5 or higher for the school year.

Conference Honors Abound for the Hawks

Alongside Monmouth’s team achievements, several student-athletes had standout inaugural seasons in the CAA.

Louis DiLaurenzio (men’s cross country), Dalton Yuest (men’s outdoor track and field), Sydney Squier (women’s indoor track and field), and A’Liah Moore (women’s soccer) were honored with CAA Leadership and Sport Excellence Awards. The awards are given to individuals who represent the highest standards of teamwork, integrity, leadership, and sportsmanship in his or her academic and athletic achievements in their respective sport. Monmouth’s four awards tied with Elon for the most by a single school in the conference.

Louis DiLaurenzio of the Monmouth Men's cross country team wears a look of calm determination as runs during a meet
Louis DiLaurenzio
front view of Justin Szuba (center, left) and three other Monmouth footballs players, linking arms and approaching center field for the coin toss
Justin Szuba (center, left)

Offensive lineman Justin Szuba was named one of the two 2022 CAA Football Scholar-Athletes of the Year after earning a 4.0 GPA while completing his bachelor’s degree in history education. His teammate, running back Jaden Shirden, was named CAA Offensive Player of the Year after finishing the regular season with the most rushing yards in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision and an NCAA best 156.5 rushing yards per game.

Evan Niedrowski was named the CAA Outdoor Track & Field Men’s Field Athlete of the Year. The sophomore won gold in the javelin at the conference outdoor championships and qualified for NCAA Championships, finishing 12th in the nation.

Monmouth Womens's Lacrosse player wears a mask and gloves while holding a goalie crosse and standing at the ready in the crease
Madi Bednarik

The Ultimate Triumph

Monmouth’s inspired debut season in the CAA drew to a close with news that rising senior Madi Bednarik, the goalie on the women’s lacrosse team, would be honored with the conference’s 2023 John H. Randolph Inspiration Award. The award celebrates those who exemplify resilience and inspiration, motivating others to achieve their full potential.

Bednarik’s battle with Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma began in July 2022, shortly after she helped lead her team to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship. Despite facing grueling chemotherapy and surgery, she remained dedicated to her studies during the fall semester (making Dean’s List while earning a 3.6 GPA) and attended team practices.

Returning to campus last spring, Bednarik continued to excel academically, earning a spot on the CAA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll and the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Academic Honor Roll while rebuilding her strength. As a testament to Bednarik’s unyielding spirit and determination, she was also named a recipient of the N4A Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award, which is given to a student-athlete who overcomes great personal, academic, and/or emotional odds to achieve academic success.