University of Maine hockey player Mitch Fossier and Black Bears field hockey player Cassandra Mascarenhas have been named the recipients of the 2020 “M” Club Dean Smith awards.
The Dean Smith award goes to UMaine’s top male and female student-athletes. To be considered for the award, athletes are nominated by their coaches and must have demonstrated outstanding academic and athletic achievement, be of outstanding character and be a contributor and leader within their community.
In 1992 the “M” Club named the award in honor of former UMaine student-athlete standout Dean Smith. He posted the top grade point average among electrical engineering majors at UMaine in 1990 and was the Northeast Atlantic Conference men’s basketball scoring leader. The three-time Academic All-American received the prestigious NCAA Walter Byers Award as the nation’s top scholar-athlete.
Fossier, of Alpharetta, Georgia, is a left wing and captain for the Black Bears. He is tied for 35th on the school’s career scoring list with 121 points (35 goals, 86 assists) in 128 games.
He owns a 3.898 grade point while majoring in New Media with a music minor and was named a Hockey East Top Scholar a year ago when he registered a 4.0 GPA. The 2019 All-Hockey East third-team selection leads 17th-ranked UMaine with 35 points (7 goals, 28 assists). He is third in the country in assists.
Fossier is a three-time Hockey East All-Academic Team choice, has been on the Dean’s List seven times and has three Presidential Scholar accolades.
Fossier, a singer-songwriter and musician who has recorded an album, organized the “Tip a Cop” event at a local restaurant with the Orono Police Department with the proceeds going to the Special Olympics.
For three summers, Fossier donated his time as a counselor for a high school church group in Georgia. While in Orono, he worked with the local YMCA and with a local church to bring less fortunate families to hockey games.
“To be chosen among a group like that is an amazing honor,” UMaine head coach Red Gendron said. “It’s tremendous for him and for our program.”
He said Fossier strives for excellence in everything he does.
Mascarenhas, a junior defender from Mississauga, Ontario, last fall became the ninth player in program history to be named an All-American (third team). She was also named the America East Defensive Player of the Year.
She scored a goal and led the Black Bears in assists (5) and in minutes played (1,008) while anchoring a defense that allowed only one goal per game in America East play.
“To be able to play center back the way she did, she carried our team and was the reason for any success we had,” UMaine field hockey coach Josette Babineau said.
UMaine reached the conference semifinals before losing in penalty strokes to eventual champion Stanford.
Mascarenhas, a first-team America East choice, all-tournament pick and National Field Hockey Coaches’ Association first-team, all-region selection is double majoring in management and accounting and boasts a 3.813 grade point average.
She represented her country as a member of Team Canada during its tour of China in 2019 and has competed for the Canadian Under-21 team.
The 2019 America East All-Academic team member has earned Dean’s List status in five semesters while also being selected to the ZAG Field Hockey/National Coaches Association Division-I Academic squad on three occasions.
A member of the UMaine Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Mascarenhas spent time in the summer of 2018 volunteering at an orphanage in Africa. She volunteers at high school field hockey clinics and also serves as a volunteer coach in Ontario.
Babineau said she is also an exceptional student who excels at everything she does and is very good at multitasking.
“She is so capable,” said Babineau, who noted that she will be a captain next year and is already an effective leader.
“She has a calmness and an ability to handle stress that is a great influence on our team,” Babineau said.