PAWTUCKET, R.I. – The Little East Conference (LEC) announced the 12 newest members of its Hall of Fame Friday. Each of these outstanding former student-athletes and coaches will be honored on their respective campuses during the 2019-20 academic year. Two former Western Connecticut State University great will be inducted this year. Catherine "Cat" Nathans Cannavan (soccer) and Melissa Teel (basketball) are among 12 former student-athletes and coaches to receive this coveted LEC honor.
Nathans Cannavan was one of the most prolific offense forces in Little East Conference (LEC) and WestConn women's soccer history over her three seasons in a Colonial uniform. Nathans Cannavan was named the LEC Offensive Player of the Year and a First Team All-Little East selection in each of her three seasons, which saw her lead WestConn to three consecutive LEC regular season and tournament championships from 2006-08.
The Colonials, under the leadership of Joe Mingachos, who is now WestConn's men's soccer head coach, posted an overall record of 56-9-5 and were a near-perfect 19-1-1 in conference play during Nathans Cannavan' three years at Western Connecticut. She led the Colonials to the only two 20-win seasons in program history. WestConn won a program-record 21 matches in 2007 on its way to the only NCAA Division III national semifinal appearance in program history.
Nathans Cannavan totaled 120 career points on 49 goals, which includes 19 game-winners, and 22 assists over her 70 career games played. She notched program-record totals of 22 goals and 52 points in 2006, marks that now rank second in program history.
Nathans Cannavan was named a First Team All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) as a junior in 2007, a year that saw her score 17 goals with seven assists for 41 points while tallying a program-record eight game-winning goals. She garnered Third Team All-America honors her sophomore and senior seasons, and was a First Team NSCAA All-Region selection in each of her three years at WestConn.
To-date, Nathans Cannavan is the only player in program history to be named an All-America on multiple occasions and is the only player to earn First Team All-America status. She is the only player in LEC history to be named a three-time All-American, is one of just two players in conference history to be named an All-American on multiple occasions, and is one of six players in conference history to be named a First Team All-American.
Nathans Cannavan earned her bachelor's degree in History from Western Connecticut in 2010.
Melissa Teel, who later became an assistant coach for her head coach Kimberley Rybczyk, had a record-setting career during her four years as a member of the women's basketball team, while leading the Colonials to back-to-back Little East Conference (LEC) regular season and tournament championships her junior and senior seasons.
Teel was named the LEC Player of the Year and the LEC Tournament's Most Outstanding Player in each of those seasons, and was named the LEC Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. She was the first-ever LEC player to be named Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season, and was later named to the LEC's 25th Anniversary Team.
Teel had a breakout season as a junior, averaging 13.9 points and 14.6 rebounds per game while leading the nation in blocked shots with 141. She led WestConn to an overall record of 23-6 and the program's first conference title in six years. In addition to her conference awards that year, she was named an All-American by Women's Division III News and was selected to tour Brazil as a member of the USA D-3 All-Star Team.
The awards poured in following her senior campaign, which saw her average 18.2 points and 12.5 rebounds per game while blocking 121 shots to lead the Colonials to a 24-4 overall record and a second straight Little East title. She was named Player of the Year by the New England Basketball Coaches Association and Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association, and was named an All-American by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association. Teel also earned First Team All-New England honors from D3hoops.com and the Eastern College Athletic Conference.
Teel finished her career and to-date is the programs all-time leader in rebounds (1,052) and blocked shots (367), and remains fifth on the team's all-time scoring list with 1,184 career points. She is the only player in program history to achieve 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds. Teel set the single-season record for rebounds (422), rebounds per game and blocked shots as a junior, and tallied a program-record 211 field goals as a senior. Her 510 points in 2010-11 are second-most in program history.
In the 2011 LEC championship game, Teel went off for a WestConn single-game record 39 points, while totaling a program-record 17 made field goals. She pulled down a program-record 25 rebounds in 77-68 win over Rhode Island College in the 2011 conference semifinals, and blocked a program-record 10 shots in a 58-50 win over Eastern Connecticut January 25, 2011.
Teel earned her bachelor's degree in secondary education from Western Connecticut in 2011. She was inducted into the WestConn Athletic Hall of Fame and Connecticut Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018.
First established in 2012, the LEC Hall of Fame now includes 69 members. Joining Nathans Cannavan Cannavan and Teel on the LEC's sixth Hall of Fame class are:
Julia Neilson (Eastern Connecticut) – Softball, Women's Soccer
Joe Branciforte (Keene State) – Men's Lacrosse
Michelle Mason (Keene State) – Women's Lacrosse, Women's Soccer
Stephanie Bogues (UMass Boston) – Women's Basketball
Terry Condon (UMass Boston) – Women's Volleyball (Coach)
Waldemar "Val" Sender (UMass Dartmouth) – Men's Basketball
Courtney Albert Baugher (Plymouth State) – Women's Basketball
Bob Walsh (Rhode Island College) – Men's Basketball (Coach)
Sinisa Bajic (Southern Maine) – Men's Soccer
Jessie Superchi (Southern Maine) – Field Hockey
Each member of the LEC Hall of Fame Class of 2019 will be individually featured in the coming weeks on LittleEast.com, and @LittleEastConf on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
About the Little East Conference
The LEC was formed in 1986 when six public institutions gathered to create a single sport athletic conference and has expanded into what is now New England's premier athletic conference for public institutions in NCAA Division III. The LEC features 19 championship sports and sponsors quality competition in every season for our student-athletes, while following the Division III mission of passion, responsibility, sportsmanship and citizenship. The Little East consists of nine primary institutions that encompass all six New England states – Castleton University (Vt.), Eastern Connecticut State University, Keene State College (N.H.), UMass Boston, UMass Dartmouth, Plymouth State University (N.H.), Rhode Island College, University of Southern Maine, and Western Connecticut State University.