SAINT LEO, Fla. – Marisa Souchak, of the Saint Leo women’s lacrosse program, was named a 2021 Yeardley Reynolds Love (YRL) Unsung Hero. The One Love Foundation recognizes six lacrosse student-athletes, one male and one female from each NCAA Division, to honor the memory of Yeardley Love. The foundation annually promotes and awards success in ways that may not be measured in goals, saves or ground balls. According to joinonelove.org, “this honor places value on kindness and generosity, characteristics that are often undervalued in the competitively charged environment of college lacrosse. The award recognizes the athlete who makes a significant contribution to the team while also bringing joy to teammates. The award recipients exhibit leadership as a positive role model and are involved in community service. The recipients are awarded a sum of money from the One Love Foundation to be given to their favorite charity.” The One Love YRL Unsung Hero Committee, made up of 13 individuals, narrowed down the field to 26 esteemed student-athletes in April. Following a series of interviews with each finalist, the committee had the privilege to announce the six award winners, recognizing Marisa Souchak as the women’s Division II award winner, on Monday, May 24.
Souchak wears the prestigious award following her third season competing for Saint Leo. The junior defender has taken on the role of captain while also serving as the women’s lacrosse representative on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), where she serves as the Treasurer. Her involvement on campus extends beyond athletics. She was inducted into the International Honor Society in Education as a Kappa Delta Pi Member, is a three-time Dean’s list member, and a two-time Saint Leo President’s Club Member, which honors the top 15-percent of academic success among the school’s student-athletes.
The Sarasota, Florida native is working towards her degree in education at Saint Leo University. Her ties led her to select The Florida Center for Early Childhood Development in Sarasota as her charity of choice to donate funds to through the One Love Foundation.
Saint Leo women’s lacrosse head coach Caitlin Hansen explained, “Marisa is a special student-athlete. Her grades are great, she has started every game of her career, and she has been a captain since her sophomore year. Her teammates and I all know how lucky we are that she wears the green and gold, and I am so proud of and happy for her that she is being recognized with the Yeardley Reynolds Love Unsung Hero Award.”
On the field, Souchak has helped the Saint Leo women’s lacrosse program make history. She, along with her teammates, have compiled a 22-11 record (.667) since the 2019 season. Souchak opened her career in the Green and Gold during the last full season before the COVID-19 pandemic. During her rookie season, she helped the Green and Gold go on a historic 13-0 season opening start, setting the team’s best season start. The thrilling season overhauled the program’s record book with new career, season, and single-game performances. The three-year starter has caused 33 turnovers and picked up 43 ground balls in 34 games of action.
Saint Leo University Vice President and Director Athletics, Francis X. Reidy, expressed the institution’s pride in Souchak as the women’s Division II award winner saying, “Marisa is truly deserving of this recognition. The entire University is thankful the selection committee, through the interview process, was able to appreciate her genuine nature, servant leadership qualities and the truly compassionate person Marisa is. She embodies our core values we hold very dear at Saint Leo, and it is wonderful to see her chosen for such a meaningful award.”
2021 YRL Unsung Heroes
Women’s Division I: Lila Nazarian (Syracuse)
Men’s Division I: Kyle Anderson (Harvard)
Women’s Division II: Marisa Souchak (Saint Leo)
Men’s Division II: Ben Jackson (Lynn)
Women’s Division III: Amelia Lubrano (Colby)
Men’s Division III: Thomas Brackett (Christopher Newport University)
For the latest news, updates, and information on the Saint Leo women’s lacrosse team, be sure to visit SaintLeoLions.com. Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Lions news by following Saint Leo Athletics on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.